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Man with glasses and a cat on his shoulders.


Selected Ambient Works 85–92

One of my all time top favorite music albums is "Selected Ambient Works 85-92" by the enigmatic Aphex Twin. I purchased it right after it came out (1992) at a small record store in Amsterdam. Had no idea who or what the record was about, I purely bought it for the cover art.

Cover art of the Select Ambient Works 85 - 92 album.

Apparently the Aphex Twin logo was designed by a guy named Paul ’Terratag’ Nicholson. It was first used on the cover of Aphex Twin’s "Xylem Tube" release.

Aphex Twin’s Xylem Tube album art.

This Terratag guy also did artwork for a small skate clothing company called Anarachic Adjustment. Some of the earlier photography for the brand was shot by Spike Jonze. I remember seeing some of their ads in Thrasher and RAD skate magazine.

Anarachic Adjustment advertisements in some old skate magazines.

Terratag was super into Aliens, which shows in this Anarachic Adjustment promo video. It includes some pretty good tunes (unfortunately no Aphex Twin) and has a very Alien Workshop kind of vibe to it.

Some of the few samples used on "Selected Ambient Works 85-92" can be heard on the "We Are the Music Makers" track. The sample is from the 1971 movie "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory".

They are the first lines of "Ode", a poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

Mark Gonzales used the exact same clip in the intro to his Blind Video Days part, undoubtedly the best skateboard video ever (directed by Spike Jonze).

The Internet’s biggest forum for electronic music is appropriately called We Are The Music Makers. The forum was the first to break the fact that Aphex Twin was dumping an enormous amount of unreleased tracks on SoundCloud. Some of the uploaded songs bring me right back to the era the SAW album came out.

DJ Food produced a Solid Steel podcast of Aphex Twin songs mixed in with some vintage interview clips.

It’s amazing how an album, that I purchased back in 1992, can still bring so much value to my life. It truly is a timeless masterpiece.