Great thread Killabyte. Here are some ICBYD memories of mine:
I was already a big fan, had most of the CD stuff he'd released so far, had loved the Ventolin EPs. Had heard there was an album coming but this was before the internet really got going (the internet was there, but it was full of monty python jokes and all unorganised) so you had to buy the NME or whatever to find out what was coming out and so there was always an air of mystery about when things would appear.
Was in Bristol and thought I'd wander into a record shop to see if I could find the new Aphex album. Saw this big display of album art with loads of big pictures of some long haired dude's face and assumed it was some heavy metal or something, ignored it and went flicking through the CD racks to see if I could find the new album ... eventually realised that the big display _was_ the new aphex album.
Listened to it in my room at Uni. It was the holidays and I was still there for some reason or other so the place was largely deserted. Spooky.
And a funny thing, given where we're all at now: There was a big Ebola outbreak in Zaire (as it was then) at that time - spring/summer 1995. This was the first time Ebola had really made international news in a big way so it was pretty scary, it got a lot of attention and it did seem like it might get out of control. In my head Icct Hedral really got linked with my fears of a pandemic. I literally couldn't listen to Icct Hedral for a long time, its such a bad trip sound.
(and since that time, a pandemic has been one of my biggest fears, we had close calls in 2002, 2009 etc. But weirdly now that one is happening I feel a kind of relief, like having to face a fear and then adjusting to it)
Took me years to realise that a lot of the track names are anagrams - of "Aphex Twin", " Caustic Window", "Richard D James" etc.
So Acrid Avid Jam Shred - I really love it but (and killabyte will probably come and kick my arse for saying this) the bit at about 4:36 when it all drops back to the beat always seemed a bit like RDJ couldn't think of what to do next so just started the track again. Its one of those tracks where theres lots of looping segments built on top of each other, and then the question becomes how many layers can you have, and its a really effective technique, makes for a compelling listen, but then with all the repetition it becomes hard to move the track forward onto something else.
Some tracks I couldn't really deal with the dischord or the off-rhythm stuff (Waxen Pith, Wax the Nip, Wet Tip Hen Ax) so I didn't listen to them much at the time and havent listened to them much since, might be interesting to go and check them out again (Killabyte is probably hunting me down as I type this)
I formed a deep appreciation of Mookid a few years later when it was my 'alarm clock' wake up tune, would listen to it as I woke, its got a very deep beauty to it.
Next Heap With always seemed really interesting because its got a proper 'song' structure with different sections, and it uses orchestral sounds and key changes. I always took the track title to be RDJ saying 'the next heap of tracks from me are going to have more structure and less repetition'. And that did seem to happen in a way. Or it could just be that the title was just an anagram of "The Aphex Twin" and I'm reading too much into it.
So yeah a great album, and also it kindof set up the patterns of 'what is an Aphex Twin album like?' because the previous ones, SAW 1 and SAW 2, although great, were the odd ones out when you look at what came after - SAW 1 being more like a complation, and SAW 2 being more like a high concept art piece. So, say, the Richard D James album and Drukqs, for example, although they are very different, have more in common with ICBYD than they do with SAW 1 or 2.
Soon after we had the Donkey Rhubarb EP and although Donkey Rhubarb was fun but a bit tiring, this bought us Pancake Lizard which for a long time was the favourite track of a lot of people here and is still a big favourite of mine.