I'm ostensibly here to talk to you about Aphex Twin's new album, Syro, but first I need to admit to some Pavlovian conditioning. Over the years I've grown unreasonably excitable by the first few bars of "Xtal," the first track on his debut album, Selected Ambient Works 85-92. This has very little to do with the substance of the song, in which a seductive female vocal sample coos out nonsense syllables over twinkles and burbles almost gentle enough to qualify as a lullaby. It's not even the best track -- in particular, the dynamite closer "Actium" recasts and then anodizes the album's characteristic sleek platinum into something approaching anger, like furious expert oratory delivered on the floor of an intergalactic senate. But "Xtal" has on its side the anticipation implied by the start of a longform treasure. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
An Aphex Twin logo, spray-painted on a sidewalk, building anticipation for the new album.