Music

Album Review: Aphex Twin’s ‘Syro’

Image

Three and a half stars

Aphex Twin Syro

“The problem with being avant-garde is knowing who’s putting on who,” said postmodern first-grader Calvin of the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes. Richard D. James might’ve asked himself the same question after years of building and often confounding a cult fanbase with his experimental forays into/amalgamations of techno, jungle and ambient music.

Syro, the first Aphex Twin studio album in 13 years, has James sounding less like the post-rave prankster of the 1990s and dyspeptic glitch collagist of 2001’s tire-spinning Drukqs, and more like an artist who has dispensed with the subversion and even effectively corralled his many impulses—a dominant one here being electro-funk. “XMAS_EVET10 [120] [Thanaton3 Mix]”—the album’s de facto centerpiece at 10-plus minutes—might be as unpredictable as his most maddeningly wayward material, but repeated listens reveal a method, if not a narrative. Credit pronounced melodies (see “Minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]”) and familiar synth atmospherics (the title track) in James’ ability to invite listeners while still challenging them.

Share
Photo of Mike Prevatt

Mike Prevatt

Mike started his journalism career at UCLA reviewing CDs and interviewing bands, less because he needed even more homework and ...

Get more Mike Prevatt
  • Tricky, The Orb and Goldie are all in town for separate shows.

  • When you’re in Las Vegas, a special mindset presents itself. It might be a result of all that electrical power coming out of the Hoover ...

  • One-fourth of 98 Degrees, singer Jeff Timmons, has lived in Las Vegas for almost seven years.

  • Get More Music Stories
Top of Story