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Explainer: Why everyone's talking about Limerick-born musician Aphex Twin

Twitter and the music press have gone mad.

TO BE FAIR, people have been talking about Aphex Twin for quite some time now. Decades in fact.

The Limerick-born electronic musician Richard D James is probably best known for his seminal 1992 album Selected Ambient Works 85-92, and the iconic (and nightmareish) videos for his 1997 and 1999 tracks Come to Daddy and Windowlicker.


Windowlicker Source: bdu

This week though he’s back on the radar in a big way, with the release of a new track.

So, what’s the big deal? Why is everyone from Pitchfork to half of Twitter beside themselves with glee?

The track is a teaser for bigger things to come

Earlier this week Aphex Twin released the first track from his forthcoming album Syro, catchily titled ‘minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]‘.

Syro will be Aphex Twin’s first new album in thirteen years. That’s a long time to wait.

According to the NME ‘minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]‘ has been played at James’ live shows for years, known among fans as ‘The Manchester Track’. It’s racked up more than 440,000 views in two days.

Source: Warp Records/YouTube

And he announced the new album…

…by first flying a blimp over London on 16 August, which simply read ’2014′ and featured the Aphex Twin logo.

On the same day the Aphex Twin logo also began appearing around New York City, and finally on 18 August the official Twitter account tweeted a link which required downloading the deep web browser Tor.

The link led to a tracklisting and album title.

AphexTrack Source: Pitchfork-cdn

Why the long wait?

James says he’s not interested in releasing albums. He just wants to create the music.

Of Syro he says it’s a collection of tracks recorded over a number of years, and that releasing it provides a buffer between the work he’s been creating for the past decade, and the new music he wants to make.

The fans are chomping at the bit:

So, he was born in Limerick?

Yes, but brought up in Cornwall. According to a Rolling Stone interview this week he now lives in a small Scottish village and is pretty sure most of his neighbours don’t have a clue who he is.


Has anyone heard the album yet?

The NME has nearly made itself sick with excited adjectives:



The Quietus calls it “very very good” and fans and journalists have been treated to listening parties in cities like London, Paris, New York and Brussels. They seem to like what they hear so far.

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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