Study Break: Aphex Twin’s ‘Syro’ album review

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Photo of Aphex Twin, or Richard James, courtesy of Stephen Robinson via Flickr.

The usually-inventive Aphex Twin, or Richard D. James, of England released his first all-new full-length album in 13 years Tuesday in the U.S. via Warp Records.

Syro” tries to convince its listeners that time travel is a reality and 2002 is the new present, but forgets that James’ music wasn’t quite this sonically delicious then.

From the first of many pops in the album’s opener, “minipops 67 (120.2)(source field mix),” it’s clear that James is no longer trying to further push the boundaries of electronic music. Instead, he’s embracing simplicity and tight rhythms, maturely building his tracks with layers upon layers of subtleties and nuances to form a beautifully deep, fresh record.

Fans of James’ earlier work might be disappointed with the lack of anything overly-noisy or intense, like ’97’s “Come to Daddy,” or the opposite, like ’99’s “Windowlicker.”

The importance of the new album, however, is the way James chooses to make his comeback after so long. “Syro” is so cold and calculated, it doesn’t need to try to be anything other than what it is: classic Aphex Twin.

Trevor Whitney can be reached at [email protected] or @nicegrandmas on Twitter.