When word got around that Richard D James, better known as Aphex Twin was releasing Syro, his follow up to Drukqs and first album in 13 years, the music world got giddy with excitement. There was an announcement August 29th that eight listening parties around the world, taking part over the course of five days, would get the rare opportunity to hear the highly anticipated album before anyone else.
This experience was one of the most interesting I’ve ever been a part of. Tickets were given out through a lottery and when something like this comes around, you do not want to pass it up. Because there is simply nothing to lose, but plenty to gain. Verboten in Brooklyn was the place to be at 6 p.m. on September 6, the night of the New York listening party. Security was strict with phones being turned off, and understandably so. In turn, it was nice seeing everyone put their phones away and forced to talk face to face with people you do not really know. It was surprising the amount of room there was. You knew they had the ability to fill it out to capacity floating around 750, but it was much more intimate sitting at about 100. Everyone was facing the stage even though all knew that no one was physically going to be playing there at that moment, but clearly we all thought it was necessary.
Finally it got underway, first song was Aphex Twins most recent single “mini pops 67 (source field mix)”. Apparently, this song isn’t new at all though, true fans have known this song for years through his live show. After that ended I got lost. But, in the best possible way to get lost. Since everything was new and disconnected from the outside world I allowed myself to just go on this journey Richard D James wanted me to hear before the rest of the world. It got deep; there were layers of beats. Certain points throughout are going to be exciting to hear again to discover new rhythms. It gets groovy and dare I say that you ever so briefly hear some Daft Punk-esque robotic dialect sprinkled in. The last song, “aisatsana”, I remember being particularly beautiful with the atmospheric piano, a stunning outro. The hour-long event seemed to go by rather quickly. I did not catch myself getting bored during any of the songs; everything was new and exciting and my ears wanted to hear whatever he was going to feed them. It’s a shame I only got to hear it once.
Syro is jam-packed with all the key elements that make-up a stand out electronic album. Those hard hitting acid beats, ethereal classical notes, funk that could get anyone dancing. It is a composition of exquisitely laced together rhythms.