Saturday’s listening

0645: Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92
I haven’t listened to this properly in a long time. Whenever I’m picking music to write or work to, and I think of ambient sounds, I reach for Stars Of The Lid, or The Necks, or The Field, as evidenced by Thursday’s listening. But arguably the two absolute kings of ambience, Eno and Aphex, seem to be forgotten.

So I put this on while I wrote Friday’s entry, and it’s on still as I write this part of this entry, immediately afterwards, although it will be published much later. It reminds me of university, of Northampton, of Oliver and James and Ben, of 6-year-old Asian kids throwing fireworks at the old man next door who tried to run them over. It is a disconcerting record, and that is probably why I overlook it as a writing or working aid; it isn’t ambience. It’s dark. It’s unpleasant. But only in parts. Other parts are absolutely beatific.

It’s now Sunday morning (I know; who’d have thought a paragraph break could take so much time?) and I’m finishing this post with the rest of yesterday’s listening. After Aphex Twin I listened to The Field’s second album again, while I prepared the survey for the project. I finished sorting the survey with five minutes left to go of the album; the last five minutes are my favourite, but I wanted to get away from the computer, so I turned it off and left the room.

Then I listened to All Eternals Deck by The Mountain Goats while playing a video game on an ancient, borrowed PS2. I only ever play one ancient football game, and with increasing rarity; it’s fair to say I have little interest in video games. This one game, however, I have played for so long (over a decade in different iterations) that I now play it almost unconsciously; thus it affords me the opportunity to soak in music in a much more attentive way than I usually can while writing / browsing / working, etc. I’ve been asked to review the Mountain Goats album for someone, so I took occasional notes on the iPad while I listened from the comfort of the sofa.

Later on in the afternoon, after lunch and a walk along the river, I listened to All Eternals Deck again, and then the new Bill Callahan that I’d taken to Devon Record Club, and then the last Bill Callahan, because mentioning Eid Ma Clack Shaw in yesterday’s post, and listening to Apocalypse!, had given me impetus.

And that was it. We went out for dinner with Emma’s family, came home, and I fell asleep during CSI: New York.


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