You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s had a greater impact on modern electronic music than UK artist/producer/composer, Richard David James. Most famously by his moniker Aphex Twin, James has been influencing, pioneering, reimagining, and foreshadowing various genres from acid house and ambient to drum and bass and IDM under an extensive number of aliases (AFX, Bradley Strider, Polygon Window, Power-Pill, Blue Calx, The Dice Man, GAK, Caustic Window, Q-Chastic, PBoD, The Tuss, etc.) since the early 90s. Although he has kept himself busy in other ways, after 5 tremendous LPS and even more equally acclaimed extended plays, there hasn’t been an official Aphex Twin full-length studio effort since the release the 2001 double-album, druQs. Now, after 13 years of patiently waiting, fans will finally be rewarded later this month with the electronic mastermind’s highly anticipated latest project, Syro, when it’s released by Warp Records.
The news of the brand new album was hinted at when such things as a blimp and spray-painted Aphex Twin logos began appearing in places like London and New York City. A couple of weeks ago, we got the official press release emailed to us which was packed full of intentional typos mutating actual details and information to the point where it was borderline incomprehensible. The release date for Syro was listed as both the 22nd and 23rd of this month (September 2014), presumably indicating the respective UK and USA release dates, as is typical. The same day we received information about the pre-order of the album, which will be available in triple LP + mp3, CD + mp3, and lossless digital formats, along with the opportunity to enter into a “ballot” for an opportunity to purchase a limited edition vinyl of Syro (limited to 200 copies) for a whopping for $400 price tag. All pre-order and ballot details can be found at Bleep.com by clicking HERE.
About a week later (5 days ago), we received another email listing a handful of listening parties for the new record. Included was this flyer:
With all of the details being delivered in an incredibly matter-of-fact fashion, here’s what we received, in the exact manner in which we received it…
This is the information
Beginning next Friday, over the course of several days there will be one off events internationally where fans will be able to hear Aphex Twin’s first new record in 13 year in its entirety before the release on September 23. RSVP ticket lottery begins on Sunday, August 31 at 4amPST/7amEST/12pmGMT/1pmCET and closes Tuesday, September 2 at midnight in each time zone.
These are the cities where they are happening
New York City, US
Los Angeles, US
This is where you out find more about rsvping for specific listenings:
Listen to new track — ‘minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]’
This build up is all very interesting from a marketing standpoint, but today is when we finally got something of substance delivered; an actual track that we could listen to. Check it out after the following quote from the accompanying press release:
Heard for the first time on Radio 1’s Zane Lower night, can now listen to the album track minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix] This is the first dong fore 13 years between the publication of the first a formal music.
Everything else is great, but track listings and album artwork accomplishes very little next to actually hearing a sample of what we’re supposed to be waiting for. Now it’s here, so if this isn’t enough to get you amped about the new release, then I don’t know what to tell you; maybe this just isn’t your thing. As for the rest of us, a new Aphex Twin release is pretty exciting news.
It’s probably important to note that Richard James produces a shitload of music, so what we’ve heard throughout his career is only the tip of the cybernetic iceberg. I remember watching one video interview with him, at some point, where he references his extensive vault of unreleased tracks; I believe that it was in the context of how people often come to him for remixes and, instead of actually “remixing” their material, he just grabs one of his old songs and delivers it as such. He’s a somewhat elusive character, in certain respects, but he’s one of the rare individuals that comes through consistency and lives up to the acclaim that’s been given him. If history hasn’t told us enough, then by this new sample track alone, it’s safe to assume that Syro is not another Chinese Democracy situation where the hype is much greater than the material itself. You can pretty much guarantee that James has the material to release another dozen or so Aphex Twin albums right now, if he needed to; not to mention all of the endless additional “orphan” tracks that he has taking up digital space in his compound, so if he’s ready, and more importantly willing, to release something and call it an official “Aphex Twin” studio album, then you can expect it to be worthwhile.
Earlier this year, a copy of the self-titled 1994 LP under his Caustic Window alias appeared for sale on Discogs.com. The reason that this was kind of a big deal is because the album was infamously shelved and never released; as “legend” had it, only about 5 test pressings were ever created and this was one of then. A kickstarter campaign was then started after striking a deal with James and his label, for which it was originally intended, Rephlex Records, to obtain the rights to rip and distribute the album in a lossless audio format to everyone who donated to the campaign, after it was purchased. 4,116 people donated “$16 or more,” reaching a total of $67, 424 out of the much slimmer, $9,300 initial goal. The actual vinyl copy was then sold on ebay to Minecraft creator, Markus “Notch” Persson for $46,300, with half of the funds going to charity, and the rest split among James and those who donated to the campaign. In 2014, the music that Aphex crafted twenty years ago is still blowing minds, proving itself to be as innovative as ever. In addition to Caustic Window, copies of at least 2 more extremely rare and unreleased Richard James albums from the nineties have popped up on the auction site, as well. What I’m getting at here kids is that new Aphex Twin material hitting the shelves is some fairly serious news. We’ve heard the type of shit that he shelves, so just imagine what he believes worthy enough to release.
Tracklist / Album art work
And for those who are interested in checking it out, here is the album artwork created by The Designers Republic.
…and here is the full tracklist
Aphex Twin Syro
02. XMAS_EVET10 [thanaton3 mix]
03. produk 29 
04. 4 bit 9d api+e+6 [126.26]
05. 180db_ 
06. CIRCLONT6A [141.98][syrobonkus mix]
07. fz pseudotimestretch+e+3 [138.85]
08. CIRCLONT14 [152.97][shrymoming mix]
09. syro u473t8+e [141.98][piezoluminescence mix]
10. PAPAT4 [pineal mix]
11. s950tx16wasr10 [163.97][earth portal mix]
12. aisatsana