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Acoustica: Alarm Will Sound Performs Aphex Twin CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Oct. 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Cantaloupe
  • ASIN: B0009XT8KQ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,432 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cock/Ver 10
  2. Logon Rock Witch
  3. Meltphace 6
  4. Blue Calx
  5. Fingerbib
  6. Gwely Mernans
  7. 4
  8. Prep Gwarlek 3b
  9. Omgyjya Switch 7
  10. Cliffs
  11. Jynweythek Ylow
  12. Mt. Saint Michel
  13. Avril 14th
  14. Prep Gwarlek 3b Remix
  15. Cliffs Remix

Product Description

Alarm Will Sound - Allan Pierson, direction

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Always in search of the weird and wonderful but equally wary of futile novelty, my discovery of this surprising musical experiment demanded a listen. But could this New York chamber group translate some of the most groundbreaking, demented and thoroughly noisy experimental electronica into an acoustic format? Yes, yes, yes! And wonderfully so. Even the most furiously percussive challenges are an absolute triumph. The only other musicians I could conceive of living upto this damn near impossible challenge would have been The Kronos Quartet, but even then they would have had to expand their instrumentation. If you liked the staccato sounds of Clogs on their avant-chamber masterpiece 'Stick Music', or if you enjoy the sonic persecution of Penderecki, Lygeti, or the more palatable Bartok and Hermann's 'Psycho', then this could be for you. Perhaps they will attempt the music of Autechre next.
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Format: Audio CD
At times sublimely beautiful, others plain mental. Well, what would you expect with this as source material? This is not just a half-hearted novelty record but absolutely fantastic with ingenious use of orchestral and 'other' instruments. The atmosphere created on some of the tracks is stunning, the music being well recorded and engineered. Essential poichase for all RDJ fans and highly recommended for non-lovers of cornish avant-garde.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, i can see what they're trying to do here and it is no doubt one of the toughest challenges in music to try and translate Richard James to real instruments in (what I'm assuming) was a live setting, but for goodness's sake much of this is so out-of-tune and/or shockingly inept to make the exercise feel completely pointless. And couldn't they have attempted to mix the tracks or something? Or was that against the rules? Honestly it feels like the orchestral bods involved are either tone deaf or still maybe studying music at school...

Maybe I'm being too harsh and the art of translation was so fiendishly difficult that this is as good as it was ever likely to get. In that case, it feels like 'why bother'. It's like trying to translate WAR AND PEACE into a 90 minute movie to see if it will work. It won't! Surely there was a point when they were putting this together where they thought, nah, lets knock this on the head... was a bad idea...

Anyway - as a novelty exercise / experiment it obviously warrants some merit/interest (it's why I bought it in the first place), but as something to listen to, give it a miss. All it made me want to do was listen to the original tracks again to get rid of the memory of listening to these ones!
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By A Customer on 13 Oct. 2005
Format: Audio CD
I don't know how they do it, but they do it amazingly well. A true digital to analog conversion!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x97547864) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9728c2c4) out of 5 stars Imaginative re-working of Richard D James 25 Nov. 2005
By somethingexcellent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when I first saw this release by Alarm Will Sound. There have been tons of crossover releases (going both ways) in terms of classical artists remaking popular artists and vice-versa. William Orbit tackled the masters with his Pieces In A Modern Style while the work of Radiohead has been transcribed to both classical and solo piano pieces and The Balanescu Quartet got Possessed by Kraftwerk. It's been going on for decades, with everyone from the New York Philharmonic playing the Bee Gees to Apolyptica doing string quartet versions of Metallica songs.

On Acoustica, Alarm Will Sound obviously tackles the work of Mr. Richard D. James, and even for a big fan like myself (who can often be rather cynical), I have to admit that the young 22-piece group has pulled things off pretty darn well. In terms of arrangements and compositions, the group could have easily chosen another electronic artist that wasn't quite as challenging, but they've adapted thirteen tracks of Aphex Twin on this release and amazingly play them all acoustically (with the only exception being electric bass). The songs themselves are turned into pieces that breath with strings, brass, woodwinds and live percussionists, along with some vocals.

In addition to all of the above instrumentation, the group also raided toy stores and created homemade instruments in order to recreate some of the more unique sounds that Aphex Twin uses in his music. The result is something that is entirely true to the original, played with an almost astounding precision, yet is just human and different enough to sound original. Truth be told, I don't listen to Aphex Twin as much as I used to, but hearing these interpretations of his work made me start fishing out his releases again and hearing them in a slightly different light.

If you need proof that the group didn't stray from difficult pieces, they tackled both "Cock/Ver 10, "Omgyjya Switch 7," and "Mt. Saint Michel" from Drukqs (each have their own insane rhythm section, which the group tackles with 4 percussionists), as well as the hilariously playful "Logon Rock Witch" and the beautiful "4" (which might be one of my favorite Aphex Twin songs ever) from The Richard D. James. On the slower sides of things, the group recreates both "Blue Calx" and "Cliffs" (the title generally given to the track due to the liner notes picture) from Selected Ambient Works Volume 2.

There's a lot of other stuff to digest on the release, but the pedigree of Alarm Will Sound is high (their first release was an acclaimed performance of two Steve Reich pieces) and their reworkings of Aphex Twin will likely appeal to fans of Mr. James himself or classical music fans who are looking for something quite a bit different from the ordinary. The release concludes with two "remixes" of their interpretations, and unfortunately they sound by-the-numbers given the music that came before them (both opting for a fairly straightforward house feel). Even with the somewhat lackluster ending and silly title, Acoustica is still a pretty fun little listen.

(from almost cool music reviews)
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9728c318) out of 5 stars One of my favorite discs lately 21 Oct. 2005
By M. Davignon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I love this cd, and it's definitely worth the more than standard price. Those expecting to hear more stuff like the Philip Glass orchestration of "Icct Hedral" that came out a couple years ago will be pleasantly surprised - this is a much more enthusiastic endeavor. Firstly, there's a much wider range of instruments used, including bassoons, english horns and trumpets in addition to the strings and wide array of percussion. There really needs to be more bassoons in the world in general. Many of the songs chosen are on the more complex side of Aphex Twin's repetoire, and the acoustic versions match every skip and hiccup of the originals. Most of the tracks here are from "Druqks", which was one of my least favorite Aphex releases. (I thought it was a case of Richard James following trends rather than creating them.) However, listening to this let me go back to it and appreciate it from a compositional perspective. The other tracks seem to be split between the Richard D. James album and Selected Ambient Works 2.

This ensemble worked very hard to try to match the sounds used in the original songs, at times using found objects to replace the sounds of heavily-processed drum machines. There are some most beautiful/ingenious examples too: in "Meltphace 6", a blaring piccolo fills the role of what was originally squealing feedback, and in "4", an english horn occasionally tugs the lead line away from the strings.

I only have 1 small complaint: 2 electronic "remix" tracks are included as a bonus, which disrupt the mood presented by the rest of the tracks.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97ab4198) out of 5 stars An Aphex Twin fan's perspective. 28 July 2005
By mrgypsum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am a fan of Richard D James the Aphex Twin. I am also a fan of classical music, and of composed music. You can imagine my excitement when I heard about this album. :). I have never heard of Alarm Will Sound or of Steve Reich however, but they do a fantastic job at converting James's music to classical arrangements.

But...I think the other reviewer is correct in saying that people who do not the music of Aphex probably won't like most of the tracks on this album. But if you are open minded about music, and would like something totally different, I would recommend this. It's not that it was bound to be a great release - in fact there are some tracks on this that AWS just turn into lifeless Aphex rip-offs.

Meltphace 6, which is a great Aphex track - is utterly ruined. Aphex's Melt is a fluid master piece, flows well, and is just a beautiful track. AWS Melt - is piece-meal at best, the bass is just wrong - it's very twangy, and I just don't think that the performers pull it off. Another miss is Jynweythek Ylow, it's too slow, and the original blows it out of the water. Finally Prep Gwarlek 38 is an utter failure; they just couldn't pull it off. I won't even mention the two remixes at the end, just skip them.

Not only do they totally drop the ball on some tracks, they really only mention Richard James ONCE! Now if you ask me, his name should appear more than that - not even a thank you! This is his music, his productions - that they are performing here, give credit where credit it due.

Well that's the bad - I didn't give this a 4 star rating for nothing. Also it's not like AWS SHOULD HAVE copied exactly what Aphex did, they do a good job at making their own. AWS's version of Omgyjya Switch7 is beautiful! They took one of Aphex's best and made it just as good. The ending of this track is the cream of the crop, they pull off the insane percussion and 'raking' that is in the original. Another hit, Logon Rock Witch, which is not one of my favs of Aphex, is made into a beautiful melancholy performance. They really turned it into something here. Finally Gwely Mernens - they got down the timing so perfectly, this is such a great track on here, I am ashamed to admit that I like it better than the original.

Most of the other tracks are great - if you are new to Aphex and you find yourself loving this, you should check out the rest of his stuff. I myself am going to look into the percussionists on here; they did the best job at capturing the essence of Aphex's music.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9728c5a0) out of 5 stars wonderful for the right people 16 July 2005
By Daniel A. Blessing - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you are not a fan or never heard of Aphex Twin you probably do not want this album. for classical fans, it is performed very well but very hard to follow the style (get down with). but if you know and love Aphex Twin you will find your self loving this album, the way certain Aphex Twin tracks are done will probably make you laugh at first then find yourself geting lost in it all. I guess all that exsperimental Drum and Bass can be acheived with out a computer!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9728c7e0) out of 5 stars Great music regardless of genre 13 Sept. 2005
By Jeff Abell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Unlike most of the other folks who've logged in on this CD, I'm a complete novice when it comes to Aphex Twin. I don't have anything to compare these tracks to, so I can't say whether they seem lame compared to the originals. But as a fan of all manner of alternative music, and of music that blurs the distinctions between High Art and Popular Culture, this CD is some of the most interesting, listenable stuff I've heard in a long time. Back in the long ago, there was Frank Zappa, who wrote works for orchestra with a rock-group sensibility, mixed with Edgard Varese. These tunes seem to me deeply within that tradition - part avant-garde noise, part slippery pop sensibility, and lots of head-bobbing, foot tapping rhythmic energy. Frank must be looking down from wherever he is these days in the cosmic beyond, and smiling with satisfaction. That final "remix" that the Aphex Twin fan suggests you skip has a little voice at the end saying "That broke my heart." I felt the same way.
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