A Call From The Weird Fringes: Aphex Twin's 'Syro' Electronic producer and composer Richard D. James returns to recording after a 13-year absence, with an album that stands refreshingly askew next to mainstream EDM.
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A Call From The Weird Fringes: Aphex Twin's 'Syro'

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A Call From The Weird Fringes: Aphex Twin's 'Syro'

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Music Reviews

A Call From The Weird Fringes: Aphex Twin's 'Syro'

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

What's cool in electronic music seems to change by the week. But one name that perseveres is Richard D. James, better known as Aphex Twin. He was creating groundbreaking sounds 20 years ago and he hasn't stopped.

(SOUNDBITE OF APHEX TWIN SONG)

SIEGEL: That's from Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, "Selected Ambient Works Vol. II." Today marks the first Aphex Twin release in more than a decade. It's called, "Syro." Our reviewer Tom Moon says it's a turn away from the current electronic mainstream.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MINIPOPS 67, 120.2")

TOM MOON, BYLINE: In the 13 years since the last Aphex Twin album, the world of electronic pop music has exploded commercially and splintered into thousands of sub-genres. But it's also become a bit more predictable, which is one reason many have been awaiting this return.

(SOUNDBITE OF APHEX TWIN SONG)

MOON: Aphex Twin's early records expanded the lockstep pulse of techno with brooding, shadowy atmospheres. The new album explores similar undercurrents, rendered with a gearhead's fanatic attention to detail.

(SOUNDBITE OF APHEX TWIN SONG)

MOON: Where some producers set up a foundational beat and then let it repeat endlessly, Aphex Twin drops in slight changes from one measure to the next. This gives the mixes an ear grabbing element of unpredictability.

(SOUNDBITE OF APHEX TWIN SONG)

MOON: And these pieces evolve over time. Riffs pileup on top of each other and there are sudden breakdowns and scene changes. Check out where this tune ends up.

(SOUNDBITE OF APHEX TWIN SONG)

MOON: What's striking about the new Aphex Twin is how out of step it is with most of the glitzy mainstream electronic world. Its textured dreamscapes call from the weird fringe of a genre that used to be nothing but weird fringes. It's possible to dance to this music but you can just get lost inside it too.

(SOUNDBITE OF APHEX TWIN SONG)

SIEGEL: Aphex Twin's latest is called "Syro." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

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