Smile! After 13 years in the making, Aphex Twin’s (aka Richard D. James) long-awaited album, Syro, is finally available to stream on Spotify.
Following weeks of cryptic guerrilla marketing (including a mysterious blimp, secretive street art, and online teasers), the album itself arrives as an enigmatic landscape of tenebrous techno and equivocal electronic tunes. At first glance, the tracklist alone looks like an incomprehensible directory of meaningless symbols and numbers. Those who have a technical eye for detail will see that many of the track names actually come from the equipment that was used to create them–i.e. minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix] (named after Korg Mini Pops) and CIRCLONT6A [141.98][syrobonkus mix] (named after the Sequentix Cirklon). If none of that makes sense to you, don’t worry. James has included a full list of every piece of equipment that he used to make the album.
Sonically, Syro is not so much confusing as it is anarchic. According to James, the erratic nature of the album stems from the randomness of his own personality. However, without a single focal point to guide you through it, Syro is still an accessible collection of free-flowing arrangements that constantly morph into a surprising mix of vivid and innovative electronic imagery. Give the album a listen below via Spotify.
Syro is out Sept. 23 on Warp.