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The Daily Hilario: Syro

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Your daily dose of off-topic shenanigans. With plenty of football today.

Mark Thompson


I discovered Aphex Twin a little late, but there was a time in my life, let's say 2000/1-ish?, that he was central to my musical existence.  He's still one of the most represented artists in my music library, if not in terms of recent listens but still in terms of overall number of tracks available.  So I wasn't exactly in a rush to go out and acquire his new album -- the first in 13 years -- that came out on Friday online and comes out today in stores.

Reviewing music at all well is... well... well, well outside of my comfort zone, and while I think Pitchfork is often a pretentious load of nonsense, I'm in full agreement with them in this case:

Syro is an unusual album to contemplate because its overall approach is not particularly unusual [...] On the evidence here, he has no interest in re-inventing his sound. Syro has few extremes [...] Syro doesn't cast James in a quasi-classical light [...] And there are no "Windowlicker"-like nods to pop, no attempts to smuggle some truly weird music onto the charts.

Without all that, what's left? Sixty-five minutes of highly melodic, superbly arranged, precisely mixed, texturally varied electronic music that sounds like it could have come from no other artist.  [...] And it's a confident album precisely because it's not self-consciously pushing the envelope. Electronic music with a strong beat not intended for the dancefloor was, if not invented by this guy, certainly perfected by him. So with his first trip back from the wilderness, he's demonstrating exactly how it's done.

Syro scans as "'90s" in terms of form but is quite modern in its particulars. Music sounded like this in 1996, but it didn't sound quite this good. Whether James has acquired better machines or improved the way in which he records them, Syro contains some of his most tactile music; it's a headphone record par excellence, an hour-long feast for the ears...

So far, it gets an enthusiastic, nostalgic thumbs up from me.  The review references how good it all sounds; here's an insanely long list from Reddit of all the equipment used by the mad genius.  Yowza!

My early favorite is the title track, if you can call it that, syro u473t8+e [141.98][piezoluminescence mix].

FOOTBALL (all times BST):
16.00:  KNVB Cup, 2nd round:  VVSB vs. Vitesse
19.00:  La Liga, 7th vs. 13th:  Real Madrid vs. Elche
19.00:  Bundesliga, 4th vs. 1st:  Bayern Munich vs. Paderborn
19.00:  Bundesliga, 13th vs. 16th:  Werder Bremen vs. Schalke 04
19.45:  League Cup, 3rd round:  Arsenal vs. Southampton
19.45:  League Cup, 3rd round:  Liverpool vs. Middlesbrough
19.45:  League Cup, 3rd round:  Stoke City vs. Sunderland
19.45:  League Cup, 3rd round:  Swansea City vs. Everton
19.45:  Serie A, 19th vs. 4th:  Empoli vs. AC Milan