The New Aphex Twin Album Is Really Good

Usually, writing about an album is very easy. It’s easy to critique lyrics, musicianship and production. That’s where this gets sort of difficult. Reviewing an Aphex Twin (or any other electronic music album) gets tricky. Because you pretty much have pure production to talk about. And that can be a pretty boring and/or difficult thing to do.

But rest assure, “Syro” is really good. Granted, if you enjoy electronic music.

It is an interesting album, fairly laid back, but it has a lot going on. The beats are funky, the sounds burp and bubble out seamlessly at times, jarring at others, and it’s sonically interesting to hear different things going on beyond the bass and beats. At times, it sounds like an old 8-bit NES or Atari is breaking down and pushing sounds out of a broken TV.

What “Syro” does is create a world with sounds. A beautiful world at that. This is not music you would want to hear in a club, or casually in your car. “Syro” demands your time to pay attention. And it is worth it.

I will not even attempt to do a track-by-track analysis, because that would not really make sense here and typing out titles would be a nightmare.

Here is the track list:

1. “minipops 67 [120.2]” (source field mix) 4:47

2. “XMAS_EVET10 [120]” (thanaton3 mix) 10:31
3. “produk 29 [101]” 5:03
4. “4 bit 9d api+e+6 [126.26]” 4:28
5. “180db_ [130]” 3:11
6. “CIRCLONT6A [141.98]” (syrobonkus mix) 6:00
7. “fz pseudotimestretch+e+3 [138.85]” 0:58
8. “CIRCLONT14 [152.97]” (shrymoming mix) 7:21
9. “syro u473t8+e [141.98]” (piezoluminescence mix) 6:32
10. “PAPAT4 [155]” (pineal mix) 4:18
11. “s950tx16wasr10 [163.97]” (earth portal mix) 6:01
12. “aisatsana [102]”

Yeah, that would not be fun to do.

But the album plays like what EDM would sound like if Frank Zappa made it. Awesome.

And the vocal samples sprinkled through out feel like something straight out a David Lynch movie, warped and creepy.

The tracks bleed into one another, creating a seamless musical narrative that certainly shouldn’t feel seamless. The texture is rich and I think I will have to give it quite a few more listens. The best way I can explain it is that it is a complicated and calming (and at times, no so calming) record to my ears.

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