Surfing on Sine Waves

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Surfing on Sine Waves
Studio album by
Released11 January 1993 (1993-01-11)
StudioLlannerlog Studios, Cornwall
ProducerRichard D. James
Richard D. James chronology
Analogue Bubblebath Vol 3
Surfing on Sine Waves
Artificial Intelligence series chronology
Artificial Intelligence
Surfing on Sine Waves

Surfing on Sine Waves is a studio album by the musician and producer Richard D. James under the alias Polygon Window. James is better known as Aphex Twin. The record was released on 11 January 1993 through the label Warp.[4] It entered the UK Dance Albums Chart at No. 2 on 23 January 1993. James' previous album, Selected Ambient Works 85‍–‍92, was then at No. 9 on the chart, and James briefly had two records in the Dance Albums Top 10 under different pseudonyms.[5] The 2001 reissue edition includes the previously unreleased tracks "Portreath Harbour" and "Redruth School".[6]


The cover of the album features a photograph of Chapel Porth beach in Cornwall, where James spent time with his sisters as a child; James thanks the seaside village in the liner notes.[7] The title Surfing on Sine Waves was chosen by Warp founder Rob Mitchell after James mentioned that "loads of people I knew growing up in Cornwall were poser surfers and I didn't wanna hang around with them."[8] The record is the second release in Warp's Artificial Intelligence series.[9]

Reissue track "Redruth School" references James's alma mater, Redruth School, while "Portreath Harbour" references Portreath.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[11]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[13]

Ned Raggett of AllMusic praised Surfing on Sine Waves as "a great collection of abstract electronic/dance madness, caught somewhere between the driftiness of his more ambient works at the time and the rave-minded nuttiness of 'Digeridoo.'"[10] Mark Richard-San of Pitchfork wrote, "Catchy, melodic and memorable tracks are what made the Aphex Twin so wonderful at his best; Surfing on Sine Waves has a handful of these, albeit in rough, embryonic form."[6]

In 2012, Fact placed Surfing on Sine Waves at number 26 on its list of the "100 Best Albums of the 1990s".[14] In 2017, Pitchfork placed it at number 26 on its list of the "50 Best IDM Albums of All Time".[3] Writing for Pitchfork, Andrew Nosnitsky said, "These days, Surfing doesn't get mentioned as often as the louder, more ambitious, 'proper' Aphex records that would follow, but it's easily as refined on a technical level—and maybe even more emotionally rewarding."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Richard D. James

1993 original edition
1."Polygon Window"5:24
2."Audax Powder"4:36
3."Quoth" (sample)5:34
4."If It Really Is Me"7:01
5."Supremacy II"4:04
6."UT1 – dot"5:17
9."Quino – phec"4:42
Total length:49:02
1994 Japanese edition bonus tracks
10."Bike Pump Meets Bucket"5:58
12."Quoth" (Wooden Thump Mix)7:57
Total length:68:05
2001 reissue edition
1."Polygon Window"5:24
2."Audax Powder"4:36
4."If It Really Is Me"7:01
5."Supremacy II"4:04
6."UT1 – dot"5:17
9."Portreath Harbour"4:44
10."Redruth School"2:43
11."Quino – phec"4:42
Total length:56:58
2017 reissue edition bonus track
12."clissold 101[dat28 otari] 48k"5:43
Total length:62:34


Credits adapted from liner notes.


  1. ^ Keating, Daryl (13 October 2015). "An Essential Guide to Richard D. James". Exclaim!. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  2. ^ Reynolds, Simon (13 March 1994). "Pop View; Techno Wars: A House Divided Over Beats". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "The 50 Best IDM Albums of All Time". Pitchfork. 24 January 2017. p. 3. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Warp Records | Polygon Window | Surfing on Sine Waves | WARP7". Warp. Archived from the original on 8 November 2001. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  5. ^ Redmond, Steve, ed. (23 January 1993). "Top 10 Dance Albums" (PDF). Music Week. London: Spotlight Publications. p. 22. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 October 2023.
  6. ^ a b c Richard-San, Mark (18 March 2002). "Polygon Window: Surfing on Sine Waves". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b Snapes, Laura (13 September 2016). "The Wheal Thing: Aphex Twin's Alternative Cornish Language". The Quietus. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  8. ^ James, Richard D. "Aphex Twin – 2 Mixes Not For Cash". Warp. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  9. ^ O'Neil, Tegan (16 April 2015). "Warp's Artificial Intelligence compilation predicted the sounds of today, yesterday". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Surfing on Sine Waves – Polygon Window". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  11. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (2004). "Aphex Twin". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 21–23. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  12. ^ Howe, Rupert (March 1993). "Polygon Window: Surfing on Sine Waves". Select (33): 73.
  13. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1995). "Aphex Twin". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  14. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1990s". Fact. 3 September 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2018.

External links[edit]