Aphex Twin – Syro
Warm, playful and at times brilliant addition to Richard D James' canon
So imagine you are Aphex Twin, cruising around in his non-existent tank and contemplating a half-baked remix for some idiot band with more money than sense (#justafxthings), when you stop to realise that you are really going to have to make a new album at some point. Since 2001’s double album Drukqs you have done a whole manner of bits and bobs (his ‘Analord’ series of EPs, released under his The Tuss moniker etc) but the insatiable, feverish appetite for a proper, official Aphex Twin LP will not be quenched by such ditties. Then you (as AFX remember) realise the almost laughable weight of expectation and hype and you pull your tank into a lay-by and gently sob and then giggle manically.
There’s an inordinate amount of nonsense surrounding Richard D James, from the deified musical reputation, to the microscopic examining of every gnomic utterance and performance, to the general air of mystery he has cultivated by often doing nothing at all. What’s really very enjoyable about Syro is that none of those external factors permeate the record. It’s a warm, playful, at times brilliant, addition to his canon, into which it sits perfectly with no big palaver. No it’s not the second coming or something that will radically transform the musical landscape, instead it’s superbly produced and layered and still has that trademark Aphex feel and sound; melodic, acid-tinged, and an album that reveals more and more with each listen.
Electronic artists, a little more than most, suffer from an unfair and perverse expectation that they can simply recreate moments of previous musical majesty by just banging on a few of the same old buttons and conjuring up something great, but also familiar and unique. Syro doesn’t have a ‘Windowlicker’, but it still works beautifully because of its cocoon-like feeling of security and assurance, like a welcome mat into the mind of an enigmatic and bewitching musical talent. Pop in for an hour and enjoy the ambience.