ONE can only imagine the incredulous reaction in many UK homes to the near hysteria that has greeted the return of Richard D James, aka Aphex Twin, in the national press these last few weeks.
He’s certainly no household name. His biggest UK hit reached the heady heights of number 16 in 1999 and his last album under the Aphex moniker, the double set Drukqs, reached number 22 two years later.
To fans of all things bleepy, though, James’ return is as thrilling as it gets. If anyone could claim to be the godfather of the electronic dance music (EDM) scene, it’s him; his Selected Ambient Works 1985-92 debut pretty much defined ambient and singles like Didgeridoo, Windowlicker and Come to Daddy have influenced an entire generation of musicians in both the dance and rock scenes.
So does Syro live up to the weight of expectation?
Even the most ardent of Aphex fanboys have been forced to admit that it sounds, after several listens, like just a collection of tracks, rather than a whole new genre being spawned.
But that’s arguably no bad thing. The best bits of Syro are just great: the shades of acid house in “4 bit 9d api+e+6 [126.26]”, the straightforward electronica of opening track “minipops 67 [120.2]” and the galloping, strangely reassuring “CIRCLONT14 [152.97]” (shrymoming mix).
He changes tack at the last with the Satie-like piano instrumental “aisatsana ” (those titles, eh?!) as if to prove a point, but there’s no need, really. Syro is as good a return as we could have hoped for.
Like this? Try these: Daniel Avery, Drone Logic; LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
By Andrew Greenhalgh