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Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works Volume 3 (Beta)

A mixtape-in-progress, drawn from user18081971's SoundCloud account (updated August 29, 2016)

Note: Since Aphex Twin has removed almost all of his archival SoundCloud tracks from public view, I made a YouTube playlist (see above) of the first 10 from the SoundCloud playlist that appears below. The other three tracks don’t appear to be on YouTube. I’ve also added the brief “CHEETA2 ms800” off the 2016 Cheetah EP. For some reason the other short Cheetah track, “CHEETA2 ms800,” doesn’t appear to be on YouTube.

Note: This list is being updated when new tracks surface. Aphex Twin now goes not by user48736353001 on SoundCloud but by user18081971 (his birthdate). As of October 16, 2015, it has 13 tracks. And because Aphex Twin is more than likely to delete all these tracks at some point, I’ll also include the titles here, for posterity’s sake:

“35 SAW II Un Road Shimmer F”
“9 Un Chopped F Beginning [SAWII Un]”
“33 SAW II Un Stabbing Interview”
“4 Red Calx[slo]”
“5 Just Fall Asleep”
“blue carpet”
“Th1 [slo]”
“8 Lush Ambulance 2”
“11 Early Morning Clissold”
“(watery big ez)”
“Lecce – Voltage Controlled Acoustic Resonators”
“4 Voice Solo 1 Teac”
“4 Voice Solo 2 Teac”

Original post, from February 24, 2015: As of yesterday morning, there were 155 tracks in the rogue Aphex Twin account on SoundCloud, where Richard D. James has added the generic “user48736353001” to his long list of monikers, among them AFX, Polygon Window, and Caustic Window.

Then quite suddenly, after a 17-day gap, there was a 156th track, “Lannerlog,” which I wrote about yesterday afternoon. Over on ello.co, someone subsequently wondered if the “spigot” might be in the process of being turned on, and that turned out to be the case. First there were three more tracks on the user48736353001 account, then 14 more, and as of this writing, a full day later, there are now 173 tracks total in the account.

I’ve begun compiling the above set, under the working title Selected Ambient Works Volume 3, as an imaginary sequel to Selected Ambient Works 85-92, whose earliest tracks are 30 years old as of 2015, and to Selected Ambient Works Volume II. I wrote a book on the latter album. It was published last year as part of the 33 1/3 series to note the Volume II album’s 20th anniversary.

What does and doesn’t belong in this Volume 3 is up for debate. I’m emphasizing material that has an apparent parallel to the material on Volume II, including tracks whose titles include a “SAWII” reference. If you happen to hear anything on Aphex Twin’s SoundCloud accounts that you think should be included, please let me know (I’m at [email protected]), and I’ll see if they fit into this playlist. Arguably a Volume III in the series would have a distinct character to the previous volumes, much as Volume II was distinct from 85-92. The precise qualities of that character are unclear, and perhaps would draw from elements of the antic percussion that were evident on his later 1990s albums.

My 33 1/3 book has seven chapters, the last of which I titled “Selected Ambient Works Volume III” and in which I tried to piece together semblances of ambient work in the releases Aphex put out following the release of Selected Ambient Works Volume II. It was a purposeful exercise in well-intentioned, fully informed futility, the point being to note the distinction of Selected Ambient Works Volume II amid the broader catalog. All of which said, there is a considerable amount of material in the newly opened archive at the user48736353001 account that has the sinuous ambient quality of his early years, and that is well worth spending time with. I’ll be expanding this playlist as I continue to listen through the newly posted material.

Of the current 173, there are several close calls, like “1 nocares” and 19 Ssnb, that I haven’t included here.

Setlist posted at soundcloud.com/disquiet. My 33 1/3 book is available from many retailers, including Bleep.com, which is operated by the label, Warp, that releases the majority of Aphex Twin’s music. In my book I interview the individual who is largely responsible for the track names later associated with the songs on Selected Ambient Works Volume II, and who went on to work at Warp for a decade, during which time he helped to launch Bleep.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 16 ]

16 Comments

  1. Matt
    [ Posted February 27, 2015, at 9:49 pm ]

    1 nocares, 19 Ssnb and other close calls could make the cut if there were a [slo] version of each; it’s easy enough to simulate a 33 1/3 version of a track in Audacity.

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted March 1, 2015, at 9:54 am ]

      Yeah, the connections between the tracks are malleable.

  2. Bookie Maylock
    [ Posted February 27, 2015, at 10:00 pm ]

    Fantastic idea. Really enjoying the mix–thanks! I’ll make a note of any possible contenders to add to it as I comb through all this great music Mr. Twin has generously dropped on our heads.

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted March 1, 2015, at 9:54 am ]

      Very glad you’re enjoying.

  3. Bookie Maylock
    [ Posted February 28, 2015, at 12:59 am ]

    the track “14 07 B” seems like it could fit on this mix.

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted March 1, 2015, at 9:55 am ]

      That is a close call. In the end, I thought the melody a bit too foregrounded, and the beat too complex, to match these, but it’s duly registered.

  4. Gyorgy Gilleti
    [ Posted February 28, 2015, at 4:37 pm ]

    I’ve been doing the same thing as you. 20 vtnm is a good candidate in my view – despite the beats that appear after 30 seconds or so – but then, as you point out in your book, it’s a complete myth that SAWII is beatless …

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted March 1, 2015, at 9:56 am ]

      Thanks. Yeah, this project has been something of a test of that varied sense of what is a beat. Thanks for noting what I wrote about.

  5. Matt
    [ Posted March 1, 2015, at 9:26 am ]

    I’ve slowed 19 Ssnb down -40%, and it actually sounds quite good alongside the tracks you’ve already chosen. The others don’t fit so well. The pitch can’t be increased, however, as it makes the track stutter.

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted March 1, 2015, at 9:57 am ]

      Please post. I’d like a listen.

      • Matt
        [ Posted March 1, 2015, at 11:00 pm ]

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJrAtqH0tuQ The only issue currently is the bass rumbles early on from elongation, but it’s drowned out by the higher frequencies later on.

      • Marc Weidenbaum
        [ Posted March 2, 2015, at 7:14 am ]

        Thanks for posting, Matt. This slowing-down can be a useful way to get “inside” a piece of music.

  6. Bookie Maylock
    [ Posted April 12, 2015, at 12:43 pm ]

    I made an Aphex Twin “lush” mix out of the 170 odd unpublished tracks he recently uploaded to Soundcloud. It’s all of the best chill, mid-tempo tracks that I could find. https://soundcloud.com/michael-sotiropoulos/sets/aphex-twin-flotation-mix

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted May 2, 2015, at 11:37 am ]

      Nice. Thanks.

  7. Sharps
    [ Posted August 21, 2015, at 10:36 am ]

    Great job. I love the emphasis on the songs that relate to SAW II. I hope RDJ sees this and makes an official release out of it.

  8. txehbST
    [ Posted November 16, 2016, at 10:20 am ]

    This is great, thank you.

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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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