Richard D. James—or Aphex Twin, as most listeners will know him—has taken an unconventional route in promoting his first album in 13 years, Syro. Other than hinting at the new project via a blimp in London and a Deep Web link, news about Syro has been slim at best. But on Sept. 4, the first single for the album debuted, giving listeners a taste of what to expect when the album drops on Sept. 23.
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Electronic music pioneer Richard D. James, best known by the stage name Aphex Twin, has never seemed too interested in the traditional album cycle that the pop music industry is based around. Instead, he has released music under a bewildering number of different aliases, or in limited editions, or only on vinyl, or in assorted other ways to make buying and listening to his music more complicated than the average artist. He wasn’t even directly involved with his latest release, a digital edition of a previously unissued 1994 album recorded under the pseudonym Caustic Window that was sold by a group of diehard fans via a Kickstarter campaign.
In recent days, he’s announced the release of his first album of new material since 2001’s double-LP Drukqs in a typically cryptic manner. The first clues that something was in the works came over the weekend, when a blimp bearing the Aphex Twin logo standing in for the zero in “2014,” was spotted hovering over a music venue in London. In New York City, the same logo appeared stenciled on sidewalks in Chelsea and Midtown outside of Carnegie Hall. (The authenticity of a plate where the logo appears in a smear of jerk sauce has yet to be determined.)
Earlier today, James tweeted a link to a website accessible only through the anonymous web browser Tor, ie. a link to the Deep Web, which is better known as an online destination for illegal pornography and virtual drug markets than promotional sites for electronic music albums.
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