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4.4 out of 5 stars57
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 4 December 2003
after reading the other reviews, and then purchasing and listening to, this truly is a great album,
ambient/ambience : surrounding, environment, atmosphere
very heart felt sounds on this album...recommended
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on 20 December 1999
This album will take you to strange places in your subconcsious. Play it on repeat all night and wake up in the weirdest state after having seen intense, complicated dreams that will stick with you for days. Not a very pleasant album for most people and maybe not even appropriate at all times even for its lovers. It will take you from happy to gloomy and can make you feel completely calm and peaceful or very scared and panicky. A wonderful album worth travelling into.
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on 27 June 2012
I have listened to this album more than any other I own. It is the soundtrack to so many nights and has been there with me through good times and bad. I just wish Aphex Twin was a bit more prolific these days.
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on 22 November 2006
This is a remarkable album. Aphex Twin (AKA Richard D James) clearly has synaesthesia, a condtion where your senses overlap, so that you "see" sounds, attach feelings and emotions to smells, and so on. It's one of the basic principles of psychedelic music - think how astonishingly colourful 66-67 era Beatles music is - and a great pleasure to anyone with a sensitive response to music.

In this album, James pushes the aural envelope. The tracks are not so much "tunes", as vol 1 is, but more like soundscapes evoking specific atmospheres and emotions. There's not intro, outro or buildup and resolution of tension. The tracks generally begin and continue in that partiular vein, which I think explains the idea of ambient as "background music" - that you don't have to listen for the verse, chorus or bridge. Instead what you get is an undiluted attempt to convey an emotion/atmosphere; in true synaesthetic style the two are rarely seperable.

In disk 2, for instance, it opens with the sound of the deepest caves imaginable. (Listen to it with quality speakers to emphasise the resonance!). Track 2 sounds like a spaceship slowly landing, perhaps in the woods, perhaps in a palace of ice, on an utterly still night. A late track sounds like radio static or an attempt at communication that we humans can't decipher, a slightly unsettling, brooding sound.

This isn't "easy listening" - it doesn't bliss you out or give warm upbeat feelings, as with the Orb's music. But it is highly articulate, fascinating, three-dimensional music. If you enjoy the sound of contemplation, then get this.
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on 6 January 2013
It was great to get a perfect copy of an album that has been out a while on vinyl and it arrived in plenty of time for Christmas. The album is one of my favourites of Aphex Twin. It is very atmospheric. I can't stop listening to it.
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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2006
I've given it 5 stars because it's worth buying for the good moments - i'm not a fan of the deep, disturbing type ambient tracks that some electronica artists specialise in, and there's too much of that on here for my liking.

But when it's good it's fantastic. 'Blue Calx', Cliff', 'Z Twig', 'Hexagon' and 'Rhubarb' are all superb, whilst 'Lichen' is one of the most moving pieces of music i've ever heard - heartbreakingly beautiful in a way that is reassuring and yet in a slightly sad way, as though terrible things have happened but there's a new dawn and hope for the future.
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I am a definite latecomer to the mind bending music of Aphex Twin but feel none the worse for it as the sounds he weaves haven't dated at all. Compared to some of the acid-rave era music this still sounds fresh and challenging.

Before we go further, please note that the tracks are not 'untitled' as you would think from looking at the track listing. Rather, there are photographs that give a clue to each track. Some, like Domino and Tree are painfully obvious but others are out of focus, blurry and really require convoluted leaps of imagination to figure out. Rather like the music of Aphex Twin!

I found the second CD a bit more accessible, the first really does ask you to be in a certain mood to appreciate the minimalist sounds and development of each track. Still, I still listen to it when the mood takes me and the sounds are certainly like nothing I have heard anyone else making.

The second CD is a bit less challenging. Aphex's beatless exploration and ambient techno vibe is less apparent here and there is some nice development to each track as it progresses and the tracks come across as very atmospheric and pretty accessible.

Lichen it my favourite here and is the ideal soundtrack to a walk, listen to these through a decent portable audio set-up and you will be bounding about with a smile on your face. The atmospherics created here are poignant and at times melancholy but they are rich and intense.

Every track on this double CD has something to offer, some are more accessible than others but the sheer depth of talent on display is something that needs to be respected.

Essential.
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on 21 June 2002
One of the best albums of the 1990's, and an all-time classic. I was surprised to read the other day that this album received lukewarm reviews on it's release - 'meandering' and 'too long' seem to be common criticisms. One feels that this is due to the fact that the pop music press don't seem to have an attention span longer than 45 minutes... This album is utterly fantastic, with an intelligent structure joining the two disks into a cohesive whole. It doesn't sound like anything else you've ever heard in your life - no samples of whalesong, no bongos, no trip-hop beats, no quotes from 1950s documentaries - in short, nothing that usually makes 'ambient' music so crappy. Instead we get sparse synth loops, repeated until they seem to create an acoustic sapce all of their own. Strange timeless drones compete with echoing voice-like sounds. The remarkable thing is that the whole edifice occaisionally seems about to collapse into a structureless wash, but is pulled back from the brink by timely interjections of single sounds, almost like vague distant memories pushing through to the surface. This album is an incredible, life changing experience, if only because you realise that 'pop' music doesn't have to be banale, derivative, and pander to the lowest common denominator. Hopefully the future will be more like this.
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on 2 December 2007
I'm not going to write a full review but I just wanted to add my voice to the masses in praise of this...

Quite simply one of the best albums of any genre, this is the reason I had to start making music myself.

This is seriously unsettling music and evokes feelings and emotions that are completely alien and impossible to describe. None of the pieces really progress and they appear on the surface to be incredibly simple - but give this time and some deep listening and you will be rewarded.
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on 27 March 2000
I bought this CD thinking the track 'Window Licker' would be on it (It isn't) but I'm so glad I did as it's now one of my favorite albums! The tracks on cd 1 alone take you through a miriad of emotions ranging from deep peace to fear. It's as if the music locks right into the the central core of your mind and has it's way with you : ) The first few listens may appear distorted and strange but you'll quickly lap it up and before you know it you'll find it's never off your CD player
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