I am going to do this track-by-track countdown to the release, on February 13, 2014, the day prior to Valentine’s Day, of my book in the estimable 33 1/3 series. It is a love letter to Aphex Twin’s album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, which will mark its 20th anniversary this year, less than a month after my book’s publication. More on my Aphex Twin book at amazon.com and Bloomsbury.com. The plan is to do this countdown in the reverse order, from last track to first. For reference, an early draft of the introduction is online, as is the book’s seven-chapter table of contents. The book’s publisher posted an interview with me when I was midway through the writing process.
There is some irony to doing this countdown since the book is already shipping to folks who pre-ordered it via an online retailer such as Amazon, but the official date stands, and that’s the target — the end date — of this countdown, February 13. And for what it’s worth, while the physical copies are mailing now from retailers, the Kindle version won’t turn on until February 13. Still, the digital version costs less.
As I’ve noted on Twitter, this track-a-day approach is exactly the opposite of the book’s approach, which is a collection of interrelated, reporting-based essays.
I enjoying seeing the book pop up in people’s Twitter and Instagram feeds. Here is a proof-of-life shot from Matmos’ Drew Daniel:
“Grass” gets covered quite a bit in a section about the under-appreciated rhythmic qualities of the album (chapter two: “Background Beats”). This is one of a handful of tracks on the album that connect to the Fourth World music of Jon Hassell, music in which “rituals are brought to bear through unintended uses on new technologies, especially of castaway materials,” as I put it. Later in the book (chapter 6: “Embedding Vapor”) I touch on its employment in this black-comedic skit by satirist Chris Morris:
This is “Grass” and the track “Tree” playing simultaneously, courtesy of a YouTube-hosted fan mix:
And here it is reversed:
Thanks to boondesign.com for the sequential grid treatment of the album cover.