Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.


Selected Ambient Works Volume II

It turns out I can't write about Aphex Twin without writing about Dave Segal. It just couldn't be done. So here are some things about Mr. Segal, our staff music writer:

1. He is a committed vegan and yet somehow never annoying about it.

2. At 50 years young, he is also by many miles the healthiest of our office dwellers, likely only one-third of the way through his life span.

3. He likes music that seems like it was made by aliens A LOT.

4. He seems to be a fan of mind alteration.

He's the one who assigned me Aphex Twin, and after I listened to it a little half-assedly, rushed, in some in-between spaces—in the car, while doing chores—I found that insufficient. So I decided to fully Segal-out. I'm sure he would've recommended I find a nice dark room with an excellent sound system, drop some acid, and then listen to this double album while mainlining quinoa. But I got as close as I could, out of respect. I went home, cooked some brussels sprouts and spinach (green vegetables, man!) for dinner, poured myself a great big glass or three of wine, and put Aphex Twin on some real speakers.

Here is what came out, in no particular order:

1. Elfin wedding music.

2. A bell choir playing underwater.

3. The sound of an elbow laid across the high notes of a keyboard set on "organ."

4. A ghost whale drum circle.

Segal told me the songs were supposed to be textures. Audio textures! Very Segal. The track names are pictures, like 's name. The vegetables didn't help me understand anything any better, though. I don't know if that's really related.

My roommate came home while I was munching sprouts and listening to Aphex Twin in a wine-altered state, and she had heard all about him. She asked if I had seen any of his music videos. I had not. So then I did—you know, THE ONE. I regret this decision.

I'm glad I listened to the album I did, because I am down with the alien beauty- parlor music of Selected Ambient Works waaaay more than the weird child-faced screaming demons of the other stuff I heard. This one is more Brian Eno-y, and let's all take a second to high-five me for the reference, huh?!

I give this a "Segal Segal Segal Segal Segal Segal" out of 10. [Yo, you left out a Segal. —Segal] recommended