Nearly 20 years after its initial release, Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II has maintained its status as one of the landmark albums of electronic music. Picking up where Selected Ambient Works '85-'92 left off, it is appears that this album was composed over a much shorter period of time. There is more cohesion between the individual tracks and the record's sequencing leads to a grander statement than its predecessor. Although it may have confounded those fans looking for the intense gabber workouts and techno explorations that Aphex had made his mark with, Selected Ambient Works Volume II follows in the path set out by early electronic and ambient pioneers like Brian Eno, Erik Satie, Steve Reich, and Terry Riley with tremendous success. The pieces are at once eerie and soothing, balancing subtle dissonance with mournful drones. There's a dark and creepy underbelly to the whole affair. And while all that may sound dark and brooding, there is an uplifting quality to the work. The album was released without any track names, save for "Blue Calx," just a color coded chart for each side with an associated picture on the sleeve. Over the years fan impetus led to each track being given a name based on the image representing it (i.e. "Rhubarb" for track 3). Unfortunately, the elusive "Stone In Focus" - track E2 on the original vinyl release - is missing from this reissue. Selected Ambient Works Volume II is one of the highlights of Richard D. James' prolific career and a must for any fan of ambient electronic music. Includes a semi-gloss single-sided paper insert. Recommended.
- gatefold sleeve
- Music Label: 1972 2012