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My Aphex Twin Talk at CCRMA/Stanford

Full video from February 19, 2014 – plus techno.stanford.edu

The first talk I gave on my book Selected Ambient Works Volume II, in the 33 1/3 series, on the Aphex Twin album of that name was back on February 19 of this year, a few days after the book’s official release date. This is full video of that talk. It took place at Stanford University’s CCRMA, the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics:

One cool thing that came out of the event was the reviving of a URL that played an indirect but influential role in the history of the album. My book is as much about the cultural afterlife of Selected Ambient Works Volume II as it is about the album itself. Part of that afterlife took place online, with particular vitality on email discussion groups. The ones housed at Hyperreal.org were frequented by Greg Eden, whom I interviewed in the book, and who is the individual bearing primary responsibility for the words associated as track titles for the album (on which with one exception, the tracks are officially untitled). As background for the book, I interviewed Hyperreal.org founder Brian Behlendorf, who among other things explained to me that before Hyperreal got that name, it was running on “a dedicated box at the Medical Information Systems Group.” The URL for the boards was techno.stanford.edu. This was on a Sun Sparcstation 1+. The Hyperreal lists [email protected] and [email protected] started on techno.stanford.edu in early 1993.

Speaking to the hometown crowd, I mentioned the techno.stanford.edu URL in my talk. Shortly after the event, Carr Wilkerson at CCRMA managed to get the URL — which had long since gone 404-error dormant — to redirect to the CCRMA home page.

Oh, and two facts to correct:

1: Toward the beginning I mention Jonathan Lethem’s entry in the 33 1/3 series, about the Talking Heads album Fear of Music. It is #86, not #89, in the series.

2: And very close to the end, in response to a question from the audience, I can’t recall the name of a sculptor whom John Cage compares his compositions to in his book Silence. The sculptor of wire works is Richard Lippold.

The video is housed at youtube.com. Original event listing at ccrma.stanford.edu.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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