John Meagher reviews Syro, Aphex Twin's first album in 13 years
Forget U2’s piddly version of a hiatus between albums. Aphex Twin – aka Richard D James – hasn’t released an album since 2001.
Thirteen years is a long time in music but James has picked up where he left off – with left-field electronica that sounds quite unlike anyone else.
There are very few true visionaries in music any more – mainly because so much has gone before – but James somehow manages to eke out new ground with synthesised music that’s uncompromising and strange and yet utterly captivating.
In other hands his use of abrasive found sounds, bleeps and repeated rhythms would feel horribly disjoined, but he generally pulls the conflicting sounds together.
Listening to this album offers a reminder of James’s contribution to making Warp one of the most respected labels on the planet. Although nobody else sounds like him, his success – such as it is – is a beacon for other daring musicians to follow their own vision, however bizarre it may be.
It’s perhaps appropriate that the song titles comprise of a series of jumbled letters and numbers: it’s almost as if James is wilfully defying the radio playlisters.
Suggested tracks: XMAS_EVET10; CIRCLONT6A