It’s very complex. I wanted to give it a few listens (many listens for certain tracks) to give my complete layman’s take on it. For starters, it’s not the best Aphex Twin record ever, but I would slap it squarely in the Analord/Tuss paradigm of his work– if you liked The Tuss stuff especially, this will be an excellent listen for you. And I do mean excellent.
What’s best about SYRO is that similar to much of Aphex Twin’s later work, it rewards careful and repeated listens. There are things going on that you will absolutely not catch the first time through, and many of the changes are incredibly subtle. It’s challenging, and I love that about it. That said, this means the album is not easy to get into, and defies casual listening a bit. Who gets an Aphex record for casual listening anyway?
Favorite tracks? At first my favorite track on the record was the Japanese ONLY track called MARCHROMT30A edit 2b 96 [104.98]. Get this for sure if you can. Other than that, PAPAT4 is excellent and the middle of the album is just fantastic throughout. However, the first two tracks are probably my favorites (minipops and XMAS_EVE10). XMAS is an absolute MONSTER electronic track at over 10 minutes. Like Druqks’ Mt Saint michel mix+st micha, XMAS has many complicated and layered changes leading to a point where you think the track is over after culminating it’s core melody, but it keeps going into places beyond. It’s one you will listen to over and over and over and keep finding new stuff going on. Minipops is probably the poster-child for this record, if there was one track that captures the essence of the entire album, this one is it.
That said, there is one stinker on the record– that Aphex Twin likely slapped on their to troll the fans. I won’t spoil it, but you can likely guess (it’s not the last track!). The final track is a song that I heard first played from a piano swinging in the air last year on some video on youtube. It’s very pretty and Druqksesque but quite a contrast from the rest of the album. The second to last track (let’s just call it WASR10 for short) is just OK. The rest of it is pretty awesome and rewards careful attention. Still, not his absolute best record (which is Come to Daddy IMO), but highly recommended.