Aphex Twin: "I Care Because You Do" music review


The mad-scientist of electronica - Richard D James aka Aphex Twin - originally released I Care Because You Do in 1995; and now in 2012, that classic electronica album gets a double-lp reissue by way of the 1972 label, who also recently reissued Aphex's Selected Ambient Works Vol. Two on triple lp.

This album's single "Ventolin" stood as one of the more cantankerous tracks that RDJ had recorded up to that point. A harsh, tinnitus-inducing squeal permeates the sequencing of clunky rhythms and dum-dum melodies of that single thumbing its noise at everybody who took the whole Intelligent Dance Music thing way too seriously. At the time, the track was a blatant provocation, and after all these years, it still sticks out as a grotesque distortion, with the album moving somewhat like a palindrome around that track - progressing up to that nasty piece of electronics from more stately and subdued tracks before reversing course.

One of the tracks that brackets "Ventolin" is the majestic "Icct Hedral" which spirals around an orchestration worked out by Phillip Glass for Aphex Twin, with James girding the cauldron of repetitive woodwinds and strings with his trademarked crunching breakbeats and phase-shifting parametric filter sweeps.

The sweaty acid-breakcore track "Come On, You Slags!" is the other bookend to "Ventolin" with more introspective abstractions pooling on either side with plenty of counterpointing rhythmic complexities tossed in for good measure.

It was on this record that the Aphex sense of humor - with its broad spectrum from the strange to the village idiot - first came into its own as a unique facet to Aphex Twin's vocabulary. So much of this work still sounds amazing after all these years, and it's also great to see this on vinyl again finally, too! (Even moreso since it seems the cd version has gone out of print.)

Aphex Twin's "I Care Because You Do" 2lp


  1. One of the most important pieces of music produced in my lifetime.  Of all things, I discovered it (as I discovered much music back then) by randomly selecting it from the catalog as part of a heavily discounted Columbia House purchase.

    “Richard D. James” is, I think, a better album, tighter and more focussed, but inevitably less revolutionary.

  2. I still think Aphex Twin is from outer space.  And I mean that in the best way possible.  There are few ways more fun to mess with our new overnight guys than by showing them the videos for ‘Come to Daddy’ and ‘Rubber Johny’ before turning out the lights and leaving for the day.

    Also, I think I need to figure out how to get a copy of this that isn’t on vinyl…

  3. Like Autechre, his output could vary wildly in quality, but when it works, it really, really works. His sense of melody has always been there (like the first track on this album – Acrid Avid Jam Shred, and also Icct Hedral), but some of the technical stuff he did (does?) still sounds amazing. Listen to Bucephalus Bouncing Ball from the Come To Daddy EP. Mind, blown.  http://open.spotify.com/track/0dHbniuO4zBQfE8ArIqFgV

      1. I’d say Donkey Rhubarb is scarier, but Come to Daddy is definitely disturbing.  I’d say it’s right up there between the video for Windowlicker below, and Rubber Johnny above in terms of how disturbing I find it.

        But if you haven’t seen Monkey Drummer you’re missing out.  It’s the video for Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michael’s MountMonkey Drummer – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1ZGIrNf71QDonkey Rhubarb – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poevLGQ74Co

    1. You should check out Maryanne Amacher, who composed music designed to cause the inner ear to react and emit third (in addition to L-R stereo) waves that affect the composition differently for every listener.

  4. The music from the top video reminds me a little of Paul Haslinger’s (formerly of Tangerine Dream) Score album. Good sltuff!

  5. the “Icct Hedral” video is the wrong version of the song, that’s not the album version but rather the orchestra-only (sans electronics/beats) version that is only avail on the single

  6. I hope this is not like the SAW vol. II reissue that 1972 did; they just got the licensing, took the CD, and pressed the audio from that to vinyl, losing one track that didn’t fit on the double CD. In this case, there are no missing tracks (since ICBYD originally fit on 1 CD or 2 LPs), but I’d avoid supporting them either way.
    Warp has its own represses of ICBYD and RDJ available on Bleep right now. I can’t confirm that they were done from the original masters, but from some quick message board searching it seems they can be distinguished by the lack of additional “1972” copyright information added to the artwork. If you want them to repress SAW vol. II properly, buy it there so they know there’s demand.

  7. I love this guy. My favorites are drukqs and analord. It’s been a depressingly long time since he released a new album.

  8. I’ve never been a fan of Aphex Twin. I do like his more melodic stuff, in fact I love tracks like Polynomial-C and Window Licker, but most of his stuff I’ve heard just seems like noise – no harmony and no melody. I just feel like he’s being different for the sake of being different with no real benefit or any interest to provide a pleasing sound. Just to clarify, I love people that think unconventionally and creatively but not when the end product is just noise.

    1. He also easteregged Windowlicker with an interesting spiral on the logarithmic spectrum right at the very end.  Hid did the same thing with his face at the end of ΔMi-1=-a ΣDi[n][ΣF ij[n-1]+Fexti[n-1]] (often called “equation” or “mathematical equation”)
      Attached is the spectrogram goodie in ΔMi-1=-a ΣDi[n][ΣF ij[n-1]+Fexti[n-1]]

  9. He would make a fortune selling those masks from Come To Daddy, even if they are low quality.

    Who wouldn’t want to dress up like Aphex for Halloween????

  10. ah, yes, i recall disliking this album precisely because of Ventolin.  the album should have been called “You’ll Listen To This Because I Made It”.  

    “Selected Ambient Works Vol. Two” will forever have a place in my personal Hall of Fame, though.

  11. Trippy timing for me, because I was just listening to both the “Richard D. James” and “I Care Because You Do” albums this past weekend. 

    And again, just like back in 1995, the song, ‘Ventolin’ continues to amaze me by how frickin’ revolutionary it truly is in the history of electronic music.  I used to have the Ventolin single imported from the UK with all of the various mixes of the song.  That CD was stolen from me and repeatedly replaced… and lost again.

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