Ventolin (EP)

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Ventolin
EP by Aphex Twin
Released 27 March 1995
Length 26:27
Label Warp Records (UK)
Sire/Elektra Records (rest of world)
Producer Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin chronology
Classics
(1994)
Ventolin
(1995)
...I Care Because You Do
(1995)

"Ventolin" is a piece of electronic music composed by Cornish musician Richard D James. It is noted for its harsh, abrasive sound. James recorded numerous versions of the piece under his Aphex Twin alias.

The piece is named after a trade name for the drug Salbutamol, which is prescribed for the treatment of asthma. A reported side effect of this drug is tinnitus,[1] a high pitched ringing in the ears. James utilized this effect in "Ventolin", incorporating a piercing high-pitched ringing sound throughout the track. The music also incorporates heavily distorted techno beats. The resulting effect has been cited as "one of the harshest singles ever recorded". [1]

The song is sampled by Vancouver Industrial band Front Line Assembly in the song "Retribution" on their 1999 album Implode.

Album/video version[edit]

The first recording of "Ventolin" (the "Video Version") appeared on a music video produced to accompany the track. The video consists of a woman being trapped in an elevator with other industrial images interspersed. The "Video Version" of the track was released a month later on the 1995 Aphex Twin album ...I Care Because You Do.

The "Salbutamol Mix" on this EP is an extended version of the "Video Version".

Single releases[edit]

In 1995, Warp Records released "Ventolin" as a single in the United Kingdom, on 12" vinyl and CD in two parts, Ventolin and Ventolin Remixes. Between them, these EPs featured a further 12 versions of "Ventolin". (The United States release, by Sire Records, collects all of the tracks on a single CD.)

The singles' artwork, by Dan Parkes (who also designed the artwork for On), featured renaissance-style anatomical drawings of a human head and upper torso, together with an asthma inhaler and the Aphex Twin logo.

Whilst all the twelve versions of "Ventolin" on these singles are labelled as ostensible remixes, in many cases they appear to be almost entirely new pieces of music, bearing only nominal relation to the original. The "Wheeze" mix is the only remix that utilizes the high-pitched ringing and sounds from the original Ventolin. In typical Richard D James fashion, several of the mixes are labelled with obscure or bizarre titles, some of which are Cornish placenames.

Notes on the various "remixes"[edit]

  • Several of the apparently bizarre remix names are actually Cornish place names: Praze-An-Beeble, Marazanvose [2], Carharrack and Probus are all Cornish villages. There is a Coppice Inn in the village of Lanner, near Redruth. Plain-An-Gwarry is an area within Redruth, and also the generic name for a Cornish medieval amphitheatre used for the performance of mystery plays and sports.
  • Other mix names reference the medicinal Ventolin: "asthma beats", "wheeze" (a symptom of asthma), and Salbutamol.
  • The "Praze-An-Beeble mix" ends with manipulated samples of Richard D James' mother Lorna laughing, whilst the "Marazanvose mix" ends with a child counting in Dutch mixed with manipulated animal sounds. The ending of "Marazanvose mix" is very similar to the end of "The Beauty of Being Numb, Section B" from the album 26 Mixes for Cash. Both were recorded around the same time.
  • "Crowsmengegus mix" closes with a speech synthesizer (MacinTalk "Whisper") intoning an MC's toast to a list of names ("Respect going out to..."), almost all of whom were collaborators with Richard D James. This was later issued as a separate track on 51/13 Aphex Singles Collection, named "Respect List".
  • Also, it appears that the Plain-An-Gwarry mix was partly used in the making of the song "Cow Cud Is a Twin" from the …I Care Because You Do album, they both have very similar drum beats and similar infrequent basslines.

Track listing[edit]

Ventolin[edit]

Ventolin EP
  1. "Ventolin" (Salbutamol Mix) – 5:46
  2. "Ventolin" (Praze-An-Beeble Mix) – 3:21
  3. "Ventolin" (Marazanvose Mix) – 2:10
  4. "Ventolin" (Plain-An-Gwarry Mix) – 4:37
  5. "Ventolin" (The Coppice Mix) – 4:35
  6. "Ventolin" (Crowsmengegus Mix) – 5:52

Ventolin Remixes[edit]

Ventolin (the remixes) EP
  1. "Ventolin" (Wheeze Mix) – 7:07
  2. "Ventolin" (Carharrack Mix) – 2:49
  3. "Ventolin" (Probus Mix) – 4:14
  4. "Ventolin" (Cylob Mix) – 5:02
  5. "Ventolin" (Deep Gong Mix) – 6:18
  6. "Ventolin" (Asthma Beats Mix) – 1:39

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goodey, R. J. (1981). "Drugs in the treatment of tinnitus". Ciba Foundation Symposium 85 (Issue): 263. doi:10.1002/9780470720677.ch15. Retrieved 8 April 2013.