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Alternative & Indie - Released September 22, 2014 | Warp Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Thirteen years passed between Drukqs and Syro, the fifth and sixth Aphex Twin albums. The long stretch, however, wasn't short on new material from Richard D. James. From 2005 through early 2014, the frequently dazzling Analord EPs (all but one of which was credited to AFX), an EP and LP as the Tuss, and a liberated Caustic Window LP all reached the public. In August 2014, a nylon Aphex blimp -- not quite as immense as the S.O.S. Band's presumably decommissioned aircraft, yet transfixing nonetheless -- was spotted over London, and the following month, Syro arrived on Warp. Low on frenetics, Syro is anchored by rotund and agile basslines that zip and glide, and it's decked in accents and melodies that are lively even at their most distressed. It also flows easily, a notion epitomized by the sequencing of "XMAS_EVET10 [Thanaton3 Mix]" and "Produk 29," where a mesmerizing combination of snaking low-end synthesizers (10:31, not 12:24 in length) is trailed by an avant-rap body mover that bears some resemblance to Dabrye's lithe and sprightly early releases. Components of certain tracks, like the squiggled Mr. Fingers spin-cycle bassline in "4 bit 9d api+e+6" and scrambled rhythms of "CIRCLONT6A [Syrobonkus Mix]," make the album seem like a bright progression from the Analord releases. Apart from the straight-ahead slamming drums in "180db_," the most striking aspect of Syro is the funkiness of its synthesizers relative to James' previous output. His playing here is far too fidgety to be grafted onto the likes of "You Dropped a Bomb on Me," "You're the One for Me," and "Just Be Good to Me," though some of the lines in, uh, the title cut, have that grimace-triggering quality. Only a trace of the indiscriminate sequencing and stylistic switch-ups heard on Drukqs remains. It's saved for the end, with a rather elegant, part-drum'n'bass excursion as the penultimate number, followed by a placid piano-only piece in the vein of those heard on the 2001 album. These tracks actually enhance, rather than hinder, one of James' most inviting and enjoyable releases. ~ Andy Kellman
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 23, 2015 | Warp Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Drum & Bass - Released November 4, 1996 | Warp Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Perhaps inspired by the experimental drum'n'bass being created by Squarepusher (a recent signee to his Rephlex label), Richard D. James' third major-label album as Aphex Twin was his first to work with jungle -- though, to his credit, he had released the breakbeat EP Hangable Auto Bulb almost a year earlier. Contemporaries Orbital and Underworld were beginning to incorporate moderate use of drum'n'bass in their work as well, but this album was more extreme than virtually all jungle being made at the time. The beats are jackhammer quick and even more jarring considering what is -- for the most part -- laid over the top: the same fragile, slow-moving melodies that characterized Aphex Twin's earlier ambient works. Most overtly disturbing is "Milkman," the first straight-ahead vocal track from Aphex Twin; the song is a child-like ode that gradually deteriorates into a bizarre fantasy concerning the milkman's wife. With all the Aphex Twin's curious idiosyncracies, though, Richard D. James Album is a very listenable record and a worthy follow-up to I Care Because You Do. [The American issue features the English EP "Girl/Boy."] ~ John Bush
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 11, 1993 | Warp Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 15, 2019 | Warp Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 16, 1998 | R&S Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 6, 1997 | Warp Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 7, 1994 | Warp Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 10, 1992 | R&S Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 22, 2001 | Warp Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 24, 1995 | Warp Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 6, 2015 | Warp Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Warp Records

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released May 11, 2008 | R&S Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 8, 2016 | Warp Records

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Drum & Bass - Released March 22, 1999 | Warp Records

An extension of its satiric predecessor, "Windowlicker" focuses on eerie lounge-porn music (with a video to match) instead of the thrashcore of "Come to Daddy." Later Aphex trademarks like hyper-breakbeat drum programs and heavily tweaked voices are in full effect, though the cloying melody could make longtime fans run for the toilet (or fall off the couch laughing). Of the two unpronounceable B-sides, one includes more breakbeat thrash, while the other looks back to Selected Ambient Works territory with a toybox melody that's only potentially disturbing. The enhanced single also included the video of the title track, directed by Chris Cunningham, and possibly even more disturbing than "Come to Daddy." ~ John Bush
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 25, 2019 | RECONDITIONED MUSIC

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released April 22, 2019 | ICAH

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 19, 1996 | Warp Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 4, 1993 | R&S Records

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