Continuing my clean up. Toyed with the idea of posting the review I penned for SBTRKT’s debut back in ’11, but haven’t listened to the album in such a long time that I don’t know whether I’d still agree with it.
APHEX TWIN – Syro (Warp): Richard James’s first studio album as Aphex Twin in, what, fourteen years? I admire the technical dexterity he exhibits, but I’m a bit curious as to when I’ll ever listen to this outside of trying to pin a grade on it—it’s neither writing nor reading music, I can’t jam to it in the car, and I don’t do the drugs necessary to enjoy it on a trip level. More dynamic and intricately weaved than Yorke’s ghostly Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, but density isn’t always something I need. B PLUS (***)
SBTRKT – Wonder Where We Land (Young Turks): I applaud Aaron Jerome’s decision to double down on guest cameos compared to his self-titled, eight here to his first’s four. Premiere singer Sampha’s got great pipes that suit a certain aesthetic, but he can’t deliver the fire necessary for Denai Moore’s album climax “The Light,” can’t cleverly bop and wink to the nerdtronica deployed on Ezra Koenig’s “New Dorp. New York,” can’t match Caroline Polachek’s upper register on bass crawl “Look Away.” So the variety of vocalists create a roller coaster ride opposite of SBTRKT’s monotony despite having no singular “Wildfire” knockout. And did I mention Jerome uses lotsa piano? There’s lotsa piano. And I like it. A MINUS