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Aphex Twin Holiday Treat

The freely downloadable track “pianopkupt1 [norm]” appears via user18081971.

With the cheerful and characteristically gobbledygook sign off “spladgyklax,”Aphex Twin yesterday posted, as a holiday gift, a freely downloadable percussive little piece titled “pianopkupt1 [norm].”Accompanying it is this short message: “thanks for all your lush messages on here and the PM’s.”At least the track was there as of this typing, which I’ve set to post early on Friday, California time. Tracks have been coming and going on his slightly concealed, pseudonymous user18081971 account for months now. At one point there were more than 250 tracks, and then the cupboard was suddenly bare, and in recent weeks some older tracks have begun to reappear, along with some new ones, like “pianopkupt1 [norm].”(This past Monday, the 21st, I happened, around 4:30pm California time, to see all 269 tracks listed as available, and then a few minutes later they were gone, reduced to 9. As of today there are 10.) Of course, “new”is a qualified term, as much of the music Aphex Twin has been posting as user18081971 appears to be archival material, providing peeks into his process and alternate takes on familiar music, like “Avril 14th” and aspects of the Selected Ambient Works Volume II album. The newly arrived “pianopkupt1 [norm]”track has no year associated with it. It’s possible that the “pkupt”in the title refers to the use of pickups inside a piano, hence the exceptionally echoey sound of the keys. (Update 2015.12.27: pickup theory confirmed in comments below.) The continuum between the evident piano and the more neutral beats is a gentle reminder that the piano is, in essence, a well-tuned and mechanically complicated percussion instrument.

Track originally posted to soundcloud.com/user18081971.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comments: 2 ]

2 Comments

  1. Matthew McVickar
    [ Posted December 26, 2015, at 5:27 pm ]

    You appear to be right about the pickups—the comment field of the downloadable MP3 says: ‘recorded using my hand wound pickups and live to 5″ tape.’

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted December 27, 2015, at 8:23 pm ]

      Ah, nicely done. I hadn’t been paying regular attention to the downloadable metadata.

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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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