This entry of Warped focuses on Aphex Twin's first conventional album on Warp, released just over a year after SAW V.II. 1995 would be the the year that AFX would release his last analouge material for a decade, switching to computer and software based production after this album. Recorded between 1990 and 1994 ...I Care Because You Do is unique as it doesn't have any of AFX's trademark schizophrenic beats, as they would be introduced in ...ICBYD's follow up the next year, Richard D. James Album.
Why yes, the cover art is a self portrait by Richard himself, trademark creepy smirk and all.
The album itself is a mash of everything from industrial, straight up acid and mere brain melting glimpses of Aphex's soon to be trademark style on RDJ Album. Oh, and don't forget the 6 track names which are anagrams of things like Aphex Twin and whatnot, a gimmick carried on some months later with the Hangable Auto Bulb EP, itself an anagram of Analogue Bubblebath, AFX's first EP.
It begins with the first of the anagramed tracks, Acrid Avid Jam Shred (Richard David James) which is not an ideal opener in my eyes; mainly due to the 3 minute intro where not much happens other than some random bleeps here and there. After that though it becomes a deceptivley light-hearted insight into what lies ahead.
Aphex Twin - Acrid Avid Jam Shred [click to download]
A brief relapse into Acid here as strings are mixed with heavly filtered bass, the resulting mix is claustrophobic, macarbe and downright strange. Another thing to note is that this track was later "remixed"on the Donkey Rhubarb EP. I say "remixed" because well... it was a fully orchestrated version done by Phillip Glass. Yeah.
Aphex Twin - Icct Hedral [click to download]
Immediately afterward you are plunged into the depths of Aphex's twisted sense of humour. This right here folks, is something else, a track that simulates the Tinnitus heard by asthmatics when they OD on Salbutamol (hence the track title) the result is abrasive, distorted and borderline unlistenable. And this was the ONLY SINGLE from this album! You can't help but wonder if Rich is taking the piss, or if he's genuinley mental; because if you can listen past the ringing, it's actually quite a good tune.
Aphex Twin - Ventolin [click to download]
Another Acid bath, this time a bit more conventional, instead of being an all out audio assault this ones a chopped up vision of things to come, nothing stays consistent for long in the mix. The beats and bass hop all over the place, background synths fade in and out, filters come and go, the works.
Aphex Twin - Start As You Mean To Go On [click to download]
To finish off, my two favourite tracks from this album, the precursors to Richard D. James Album. Firstly, Mookid (Named because the synth Supposedly sounds like a calf mooing) is a very smooth piece where RDJ lets the synth carry the majority of the song, a stark contrast to the acidic tones of previous tracks.
Aphex Twin - Mookid [click to download]
Alberto Balsalm (Named after a brand of shampoo here in the UK) is where AFX's creativity with weird samples really shows, (it's shown up in previous parts of the record as well, with "Come On You Slags!" aptly sampling a porno flick.) Alberto Balsalm uses a sample of a chair sliding across a floor as a main element of the beat, it fits so well with the other sounds you'd never notice until someone points it out.
Aphex Twin - Alberto Balsalm [click to download]
That wraps up the first entry of warped this year, There will be another "Warped Leftovers" for this entry if anyone's interested, the record in question is Boards Of Canada's Twoism released on their own label Music70 and later reissued in 2002 by Warp. It's a very important release because it was the record that got BoC signed to Warp in the first place (As the story goes, within half an hour of hearing it, Steve Beckett phoned them up and offered them a contract) it's got remnants of BoC's techno style on it, so I'll likley be saving it for after I deal with their other albums.
Advance Boat Flux,
-Claude Van Foxbat