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Ladeez and Gentlemen, Effecks Twin

An instant remix of Aphex Twin's big night

My book on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II was published a year ago this coming Friday, February 13. A year ago he was largely a memory. Tonight he won a Grammy.

It’s weird to have written a book on a subject that everyone discussed in the past tense, and now he is fully actively present tense.

People so spoke of Aphex Twin in 2013 in the past tense that I talk in the book about how much people spoke of him in the past tense. Weird.

Those were among the thoughts I posted on Twitter this evening after the announcement that Syro had won the award for best album in the Dance/Electronica category. Syro was released last fall, after a 13-year gap since the album Drukqs. The award was given out in the pre-show Grammy ceremony, and this video snippet of the moment was uploaded shortly thereafter to YouTube:

So much anticlimax is packed into that moment, from the semi-anonymous nature of those non-show categories, to the mispronunciation of the name Aphex Twin. What stands out is the Hollywood wallpaper music that fades in after the announcement is made, this sad, out-of-place cocktail-party piano. It seems especially, unwittingly ironic given the centrality of piano to some of Aphex Twin’s own recording, including the closing track to Syro.

I mentioned on Twitter, where there was quite a bit of fun back’n’forth — including noting that music by Harry Partch, a fine precursor to Richard D. James in the field of making one’s own instruments, also won an award this evening — that I wanted nothing so much as to hear Aphex Twin snatch that bit of cocktail piano and remix it.

Ask, and, thanks to the Internet, you sometimes receive. Of course, Aphex Twin himself didn’t do the remixing, but Lee Rosevere of Vancouver, Canada, did a great job of it, breaking the source audio into pieces, layering it to stuttered and melodramatic effect, and doing a Max Headroom with the announcement itself:

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/happypuppyrecords. More from Rosevere at twitter.com/leerosevere.

Update (2015.02.09): Peculiarly, this alternate upload (found thanks to Eric Legendre) of the award announcement has no cocktail piano, but does feature some weird warped vocals and what appears to be an acceptance acknowledgement:

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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