2014 Welcomes Back Aphex Twin With Open Arms

Courtesy of hitfix.com
Courtesy of hitfix.com

Oh great, only the pioneer of IDM released his first full-length album under the name Aphex Twin since 2001’s Drukqs. Syro adds to Richard James’ ruthless yet aspiring collection of work though it never seems to sound out-of-date. The origins of IDM goes way back into the 1980’s conversely Aphex Twin reinvigorated the genre into accumulating a hybrid of techno, glitch orientated and electronic elements into his style. “The eccentric mind of Richard D. James” should have been the title of this record. Syro is his most alluring sound to date, it’s sort of crazy to believe how he still has the determination on manufacturing new grounds towards the genre after 13 years. That right there is a classification of a true perfectionist. His intention in opening doors into new innovative ideas is second to none. I am pleased to say although Syro has its mediocre moments, the record as a whole asks whether it could be considered the ‘apex’ of his career. Damn right it is! A monumental achievement and is straightforwardly one of my picks for Album of the Year. 

The organic aura carries a collection of shock value. Daft Punk are nothing alike but the moment when Random Access Memories took the world by surprise, it demonstrated as to how they are maturing in their respective genre. Likewise from listening to Syro, there is a true master at work and summarizes just how far he has come as an artist. 

Syro introduces the audience to the mass appealing debut single “minipops 67 [120.2] (source field mix)” then instantaneously follows the epic “XMAS_EVET10 [120] (thanaton3 mix)” making the back hairs on my neck tingle. The ten-minute glitch-fest starts as any Aphex Twin record would, a chilling vibe in the beginning turns into a new atmosphere, generously giving a breath of fresh air. Gaining momentum in every stride it reaches its climatic point towards the end thus never losing appeal to the listener. The immense work rate into constructing every song is an understatement. Ambitious moments arise when “180db_[130]” is a typical drum pattern turning into a disco sensation. Other favourites include “CIRCLONT14 [152.97] (shrymoming mix)”. Like track two, it slowly builds up until soaring into altitudes relative to the moon. He makes it look so easy to mix down every element needed to construct this track. The outro is a beautiful yet gentle piece called “aisatsana [102]”. Aphex Twin is known for his ambient and techno abilities nonetheless closing Syro in such a way is enthralling. 

The album plays out as though the listener has entered Utopia. Syro has the feeling of a greatest hits since it covers erratic fundamentals from The Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992) through to his prior release Drukqs (2001). Just as when many believed the genre was saturating, he proved us wrong by releasing work that sounds like nothing I’ve heard in a very, very long time. Richard James may well have hid under a rock for all this time ignoring all the popular music over the years and simply kept himself to himself. If you think IDM is scarce, you may think twice after paying attention to what is divulged within Syro. Genius! 

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