10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Genreless & timeless,
This review is from: Selected Ambient Works 1985 (Audio CD)
I feel like I have an affinity with this album. I remember back in younger days sitting in my bedroom, twisting up samples, crafting my own little electronic ditties on my wee little A500. I stuck some of them down to tape, entered some furious breakbeats as my GCSE Music compositions and was quite chufty at getting my pass mark. When I stick this on, it makes me think of those days. Selected Ambient Works is a collection of Aphex's original electronic tweakings from 85-92, composed on bits of electronics he had wired together himself and generally had fun with! Add to this the fact that the entire CD has been mastered from tape in the first place and you've got a collection of works that sounds really special to listen to, almost as if you've stumbled across some rarities in a dusty attic somewhere!
I've read that the original tape suffered a bit of a mangling job at the paws of a cat, and you can tell from the slightly wavering treble of Schottkey 7th Path and the ever present hiss that this is far from the height of ultra slick digital mastering. All of this adds to the charm of this collection, the almost otherworldly simple crystalline melodies and simple electronic beats and breaks. The music doesn't fit to any real existing musical template or structure aside from being music that is electronic. Little house beats here, breakbeats there but nothing else sounds like it. The pieces are oh so simple but oh so effective, instantly accessible and instantly gratifying. I love sticking Xtal and Pulsewidth on to give me a bit of bounce in the day, and the aforementioned Schottkey 7th Path has gorgeous orchestral and almost churchlike synths partnered with pitterpattering breaks.
This is about as individual a CD as you can get nowadays, people will look back at this as a classic in the creation of the electronic music movement. I've seen if find fans with many people, even a hardcore ABBA fan I know loves this CD! Its not got the sophisticated digital wizardry of Aphex's later works or indeed of the artists that the Warp label spawns nowadays, but for that reason it is a special collection of works. Nothing will ever sound as innovative as this did and nothing will ever match the simplicity of this collections genius.
If you're new to Aphex and are searching out his other works, grab this ... its special.