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Selected Ambient Works Volume II is the second studio album by Aphex Twin, the pseudonym of British electronic musician Richard D. James. It was released by Warp in March 1994. Billed as a follow-up to James' debut, Selected Ambient Works 85–92, the album differs in sound by being largely beatless ambient music. James claimed that it was inspired by lucid dreaming, and likened the music to "standing in a power station on acid.
The same could be said for much of Aphex Twin’s debut album, Selected Ambient Works 85-92. It’s true that, even at its most intense, SAW 85-92 was gentler than his abrasive, reputation-making early singles like Digeridoo or Dodeccaheedron. But the pumping breakbeats and drum machines of tracks like Xtal and Pulsewidth were light-years from the interesting if ignorable air fresheners that Eno had originally proposed. But with 1994’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II, James made a clean break-with his own prior catalog, and with virtually everything else that was being trafficked in the genre. Then, as now, the first thing you become aware of with Selected Ambient Works Volume II is its purity, its starkness, its emptiness. There have been quieter records, more minimal records, more difficult records.
As an album, Selected Ambient Works Volume II persistently evades the sort of consensual understanding that is usually accorded full-length recordings of note. There is no remotely satisfying cocktail-banter pithy summary. For a largely instrumental album whose limited verbal material is more syllabic than textual, Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II tells many stories. For one it is a tale of the populist flowering of British occultism, a rave-era echo of the Summer of Love. When in 1996 I interviewed Aphex Twin, who was then living in London, he described the Cornwall of his youth: It’s got a really sort of quite mystical sort of vibe to it: Lots of sort of folklore and folk tales and it’s full of stuff like that, and there’s lots of strange people, lots of sort of weird hermit.
Listen free to Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Volume II ( and more). Selected Ambient Works Volume II, abbreviated as SAW2, is the second album by Aphex Twin, released in 1994. It is the follow-up to 1992's Selected Ambient Works 85–92. The album peaked at on the UK Albums Chart. It was number 62 on Pitchfork Media's "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s". Volume II differs significantly from the first volume in the series, in that it consists of lengthy, textured ambient compositions with minimal percussion and occasional vocal samples, in a vein.
On a practical level, Selected Ambient Works Volume II was a discombobulating experience. Instead of conventional track titles, there were pie charts paired with small photos of random scenes and household objects. These were painstakingly assembled by Paul Nicholson, who designed James's iconic logo, and taken by James's then-girlfriend Sam, who also shot the album artwork. Along with Selected Ambient Works 85-92, it remains his defining release, a record so beloved and influential it would end up altering the course of electronic music. Perhaps its most striking feature is its dominant mood. Ambient fans used to the bright and feel-good haze of Brian Eno were presented with an LP that was, for the most part, anything but: dark, tense, foreboding.
Aphex Twin – 1994 - Selected Ambient Works Volume II CD. :15. Aphex Twin – 1994 - Selected Ambient Works Volume II CD. :42. Selected Ambient Works Volume II CD1 (1994) – Curtains.
Name: Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Released: March 8, 1994 and April 12, 1994 (US). Genre: Ambient, Dark Ambient, Drone, Electronic. Length: 156:32 (UK CD/digital), 151:58 (. CD) and 166:40 (vinyl/cassette). Label: Warp and Sire/Warner Records. Producer: Richard D. Selected Ambient Works Volume II is the second studio album from Richard D. James (. Aphex Twin) by Warp, Sire and Warner Records.
- Marketed By – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
- Copyright (c) – Sire
- Phonographic Copyright (p) – Sire
- Producer, Written-By, Liner Notes [This Writing], Photography – Richard D. James
NotesAll tracks (except track 2-1) are untitled, and are instead represented by photographs. On the artwork are six pie charts, representing the six sides of the vinyl edition, each pie slice representing a track (track length deciding the size of the pie slice), clockwise from top. By comparing each color-coded pie chart with the small pie symbol on each photograph, it is possible to match track to photograph.
The artwork indicates 25 tracks, as on the vinyl and cassette editions, but there are in fact only 23 tracks on the CDs. One track that appears on the European CD version (as 1-4) does not appear on this release; another track that appears only on the vinyl edition appears on the various artists compilation, Excursions In Ambience - The Third Dimension, as "#19".
Labels on spine: Sire/Warner Bros.
Label logos on tray inlay & booklet: Sire, Warner Bros., Warp
Printed around edge of disc face:
All songs BMI.
©℗ 1994 Sire Records Company, marketed by Warner Bros. Records Inc., A Time Warner Company.
Made in U.S.A.
Mfg. by WEA Manufacturing
Printed on single-sided insert:
Designed at prototype 21, Fax: 0713726841
Blue Calx taken from RePhlex/Art2cd
All selections published by Chrysalis Songs BMI
Printed in fold-out booklet:
© 1994 Sire Records company. Made in U.S.A.
Printed on tray inlay:
Sire Records Company, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019-6908. Marketed by Warner Bros. Records Inc., A Time Warner Company.
©℗ 1994 Sire Records Company. Made in U.S.A.
Barcode and Other Identifiers
- Barcode (Text): 0 9362-45482-2 5
- Barcode (String): 093624548225
- Matrix / Runout (CD 1): X19104 145482-2.1 RE-102
- Matrix / Runout (CD 2): Y16476 145482-2.2 RE-101
|WARPCD21||Aphex Twin||Selected Ambient Works Volume II (2xCD, Album)||Warp Records||WARPCD21||UK||1994|
|9 45482-2||Aphex Twin||Selected Ambient Works Volume II (2xCD, Album)||Sire, Warner Bros. Records||9 45482-2||US||1994|
|WARPCDD21||Aphex Twin||Selected Ambient Works Volume II (24xFile, WAV, Album)||Warp Records||WARPCDD21||UK||2004|
|WARPCDD 21||Aphex Twin||Selected Ambient Works Volume II (24xFile, AIFF, Album, RE)||Warp Records||WARPCDD 21||UK||2017|
|WARPCD21||Aphex Twin||Selected Ambient Works Volume II (2xCD, Album, RP)||Warp Records||WARPCD21||Europe||2006|