Aphex Twin
Street: 09.19.14
Aphex Twin = Polygon Window + Conjure One

Syro is the sequel to Aphex Twin’s 2001 masterpiece Drukqs. I remember friends in high school throwing tantrums about how it was “just a bunch of random bleeps and bloops” before ironically ejecting the CD to listen to Radiohead’s Kid A for the millionth time. Newcomers may find Syro a little more accessible—the beats are more discernable and easier to follow. Fortunately, it retains Richard D. James’ unmistakable, signature quirky genius. The tracks are simultaneously off-putting and tranquilizing. Syro starts with “minipops 67 (source field mix),” which contrasts radiance with warped vocal samples. “180db_” has unsettling, altered synth loops repetitively strewn over an oscillating, start/stop drum pattern. The album ends on a softer note with “aisatsana,” a simple yet satisfying piano piece laced with chirping birds. Syro, armed with encoded mystique and sleek grooves, is easily the best electronic album of 2014. It’s the Aphex Twin album everybody’s been asking for and nobody saw coming. –Alex Coulombe