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minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]
XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanaton3 mix]
produk 29 [101]
4 bit 9d api+e+6 [126.26]
180db_ [130]
CIRCLONT6A [141.98][syrobonkus mix]
fz pseudotimestretch+e+3 [138.85]
CIRCLONT14 [152.97][shrymoming mix]
syro u473t8+e [141.98][piezoluminescence mix]
PAPAT4 [155][pineal mix]
s950tx16wasr10 [163.97][earth portal mix]
aisatsana [102]

Performer Notes:

  • Thirteen years passed between Drukqs and Syro, the fifth and sixth Aphex Twin albums. The long stretch, however, wasn’t short on new material from Richard D. James. From 2005 through early 2014, the frequently dazzling Analord EPs (all but one of which was credited to AFX), an EP and LP as the Tuss, and a liberated Caustic Window LP all reached the public. In August 2014, a nylon Aphex blimp — not quite as immense as the S.O.S. Band’s presumably decommissioned aircraft, yet transfixing nonetheless — was spotted over London, and the following month, Syro arrived on Warp. Low on frenetics, Syro is anchored by rotund and agile basslines that zip and glide, and it’s decked in accents and melodies that are lively even at their most distressed. It also flows easily, a notion epitomized by the sequencing of “XMAS_EVET10 [Thanaton3 Mix]” and “Produk 29,” where a mesmerizing combination of snaking low-end synthesizers (10:31, not 12:24 in length) is trailed by an avant-rap body mover that bears some resemblance to Dabrye’s lithe and sprightly early releases. Components of certain tracks, like the squiggled Mr. Fingers spin-cycle bassline in “4 bit 9d api+e+6” and scrambled rhythms of “CIRCLONT6A [Syrobonkus Mix],” make the album seem like a bright progression from the Analord releases. Apart from the straight-ahead slamming drums in “180db_,” the most striking aspect of Syro is the funkiness of its synthesizers relative to James’ previous output. His playing here is far too fidgety to be grafted onto the likes of “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” “You’re the One for Me,” and “Just Be Good to Me,” though some of the lines in, uh, the title cut, have that grimace-triggering quality. Only a trace of the indiscriminate sequencing and stylistic switch-ups heard on Drukqs remains. It’s saved for the end, with a rather elegant, part-drum’n‘bass excursion as the penultimate number, followed by a placid piano-only piece in the vein of those heard on the 2001 album. These tracks actually enhance, rather than hinder, one of James’ most inviting and enjoyable releases. ~ Andy Kellman

Professional Reviews: Rolling Stone – 4 stars out of 5 — “Thick with Seventies jazz-funk nods, it answers Daft Punk’s RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES with future-shock electronics supplanting nostalgic dazzle…”

Magnet – “This isn’t new-and-improved neo-classical Aphex Twin or an epic reinvention: SYRO just is. And is great.”

Paste (magazine) – “[E]very spin through these 12 songs keeps revealing new structures and details….And the end result after each listen is a desire to just dive right back in from track one and look for more clues.”

Pitchfork (Website) – “Sixty-five minutes of highly melodic, superbly arranged, precisely mixed, texturally varied electronic music that sounds like it could have come from no other artist.”

Clash (magazine) – “It’s an effortless comeback, then, that almost plays like a greatest hits set….This Big Deal is one that stands up to the amazing hype.”

Producer: Richard D. James

Format: CD (1 Disc)

Country: USA

Studio/Live: Studio

Release Date: 23 September, 2014

Label: Warp Records

Dimensions: 13.8 × 13.2 × 1.3 centimeters (0.08 kg)

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