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Richard Robinson on Selected Ambient Works 85-92


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*shit I just got really self-conscious about posting little one-word replies in new threads and having people think that I'm just spamming my signature*

 

/morbid neurosis

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I wonder if that was the tape that got mauled by the cat (I think that's what happened anyway)

 

 

Tuna flakes and fish oil strike again !!

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  • 4 months later...

 

I wonder if that was the tape that got mauled by the cat (I think that's what happened anyway)

 

 

Tuna flakes and fish oil strike again !!

 

 

Yeah I was wondering that myself.

 

That picture of the 18 assorted cassettes? Would make a sick print.

 

That's what I geeked over the most, was hoping for it higher resolution.

 

All DAT tapes it looks like.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can somebody explain to me like im 5 years old what was the SAW85-92 production's process? were the source of the cd prints and vynil releases really those cassete tapes. Sorry for the bad english. :P

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I would've thought so - DAT (digital audio tape) was the format of choice for original masters back in the late 80s/early 90s as it was able to record at 48khz/16bit at an affordable price (I believe some could even go to 96khz/24bit) as the cost of CD recorders were still prohibitively expensive

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I would've thought so - DAT (digital audio tape) was the format of choice for original masters back in the late 80s/early 90s as it was able to record at 48khz/16bit at an affordable price (I believe some could even go to 96khz/24bit) as the cost of CD recorders were still prohibitively expensive

 

This goes for BoC and µ-Ziq (Somerset Avenue Tracks (1992–1995) were pulled from DAT tapes) too. In fact I think just about every electronic producer was using DAT back then - especially bedroom producers - it was a godsend for those frustrated with the issues that could come from recording on tape.

 

I used to misunderstand the tidbit about SAW 85-92 by assuming it was recorded on compact cassette (which is analog), but once I read it was DATmakes more sense. DAT is still digital information, so as long as the tape is intact and readable it's as consistent with each playback, hence the ability for it to be remastered and repressed easily. That said, it's very likely many parts and tracks of SAW 85-92 were recorded on analog tape of different forms.

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I used to misunderstand the tidbit about SAW 85-92 by assuming it was recorded on compact cassette (which is analog), but once I read it was DAT makes more sense. DAT is still digital information, so as long as the tape is intact and readable it's as consistent with each playback, hence the ability for it to be remastered and repressed easily. That said, it's very likely many parts and tracks of SAW 85-92 were recorded on analog tape of different forms.

 

No, you were right the first time. :)

 

Everything was originally mastered on standard tape on a hi-fi cassette deck. I've only had a DAT for just over a year... With the first track, the tape had chewed in about seven places... It's a retrospective look, and the tape munching was all part of the stuff I was doing, so I've left it in.

 

That was back in 1993. He'd lend his tapes out to his friends to listen to in their cars. Then he got them back and recorded them to DAT, and from there to vinyl and CDs. It's great music, not at all worth worrying about the quality of the equipment you're playing it back on, as long as you can still hear those subbass lines reasonably well... :)

 

Note that Surfing on Sine Waves also predates him getting a DAT player by quite some way, being recorded between 1986 and 1989, again to cassette tape. That's the one with the orange juice spillage.

 

I can only imagine how boring it must have been going through all those old cassette tapes digitising old tracks when you could be making new tracks instead... With that kind of setup, I can see why he preferred making music to actually compiling it into releasable albums.

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So is no one going to comment on the mysterious track names that aren't on any known releases? They must have either been renamed or remain unreleased yet...

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I used to misunderstand the tidbit about SAW 85-92 by assuming it was recorded on compact cassette (which is analog), but once I read it was DAT makes more sense. DAT is still digital information, so as long as the tape is intact and readable it's as consistent with each playback, hence the ability for it to be remastered and repressed easily. That said, it's very likely many parts and tracks of SAW 85-92 were recorded on analog tape of different forms.

 

No, you were right the first time. :)

 

Everything was originally mastered on standard tape on a hi-fi cassette deck. I've only had a DAT for just over a year... With the first track, the tape had chewed in about seven places... It's a retrospective look, and the tape munching was all part of the stuff I was doing, so I've left it in.

 

That was back in 1993. He'd lend his tapes out to his friends to listen to in their cars. Then he got them back and recorded them to DAT, and from there to vinyl and CDs. It's great music, not at all worth worrying about the quality of the equipment you're playing it back on, as long as you can still hear those subbass lines reasonably well... :)

 

Note that Surfing on Sine Waves also predates him getting a DAT player by quite some way, being recorded between 1986 and 1989, again to cassette tape. That's the one with the orange juice spillage.

 

I can only imagine how boring it must have been going through all those old cassette tapes digitising old tracks when you could be making new tracks instead... With that kind of setup, I can see why he preferred making music to actually compiling it into releasable albums.

 

 

Surfing To Sine Waves recorded between '86 and '89? Where'd you get that from? I have a hard time finding evidence for that (and SAW 85-92). Starting from '89 I'd believe, but before that? Nah...

 

So is no one going to comment on the mysterious track names that aren't on any known releases? They must have either been renamed or remain unreleased yet...

On those tapes in the OP? Can't read them, except for the known titles.

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Surfing To Sine Waves recorded between '86 and '89? Where'd you get that from? I have a hard time finding evidence for that (and SAW 85-92). Starting from '89 I'd believe, but before that? Nah...

 

The press release. It's pretty consistent with the other tracks we know the years to. For example, the older tracks from ...I Care Because You Do sounds structurally quite similar, whereas, say, 1994's Alberto Balsalm actually has different sections, something he hadn't started experimenting with (to my knowledge) until about then. He also uses different sections in Melodies From Mars and Hangable Auto Bulb. He doesn't in Surfing On Sine Waves. You can also tell he's using pretty limited equipment to good effect in Surfing On Sine Waves, such as the pitched sample of a TR-808 rimshot in If It Really Is Me, presumably because he didn't have access to the real thing. (Although even if he did, sampling it and manipulating the sample later can still be a good idea.) Anyway, you can sort of stitch together a rough chronology like that by working out when he learns new skills and gets new equipment.

 

On those tapes in the OP? Can't read them, except for the known titles.

 

Yeah, they're really hard to make out. There's something that looks like Quarm (an early title for Quoth?), and Tapney or Tapwey, which I'm guessing is Tamphex. It's curious to see the (de)evolutions of his distortions. See also Isopropanol into Isoprophlex and Quintute into Quixote. Quarm appears to have been offered as a Digeridoo B-side, at any rate.

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Thanks for the info ZoeB, I forgot about that press release! Still, I have doubts about those early years. GAK, Universal Indicator Green/Red was supposed to be before/around 1990 right? That is a lot more primitive then SOSW or SAW, to me at least. I hear the chronology you talk about though, but I just don't believe it's made between '85-'87.

Also that press release states the Llannerlog Studios (where SOSW also was made) was built with two friends from Rephlex, but didn't Grant meet Aphex only in 1989? Same with Vibert, which I assume are the two Rephlex people being mentioned. I also don't think Cornwall was famous for it's fast distribution of early Detroit and Chicago records in the mid 80's (or any stuff SOSW is inspired by), so it just seems too soon.

Still, the most convincing evidence for me is that video where Aphex talks to John Peel and says he worked in the mines when he was 17, to get money to buy his first equipment.

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Good points. While it's possible to write some bad tracks after some much better ones (Naks Acid is certainly nowhere near as good as, say, anything on the Richard D. James Album despite being made much later), Universal Indicator does seem kind of cringeworthy to me. Is there any chance it was recorded long before it was released? Certainly Analogue Bubblebath (the track) was very good, and was released in 1991, so he was definitely writing at least some really good tracks before or on that year. I guess the rest is speculation about how truthful he's been in various (occasionally contradictory, as you point out) interviews and press releases. If he really didn't have any equipment until he was 17, so about 1988, then he got very good in a pretty short amount of time. I'd have thought that kind of speed of improvement would only really be possible if he was entirely obsessed and didn't have a day job. Which is possible.

 

It's also possible he borrowed other people's equipment to begin with, so he was writing lots of music before he owned his first equipment.

 

As far as influences go, he mentioned how his friends thought he was the only person making house and techno, so it's quite possible he was importing such records before the rest of Cornwall was switched on to them.

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