Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 10 Dance & Electronic

2. Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin's technique, the approach that makes him so revered, lies in his innate ability to make music that's dotted with familiar elements, but at its core is massively experimental. This is a tack that's perfectly executed on Syro. "It sounds same-y" you might say, "nothing I haven't heard before," but that's simply because the album is such a melting pot of sounds that you've come across: elements of house, techno, pop, classical, jazz and everything else you've ever held dear. Take "S950tx16wasr10 (Earth Portal Mix)" — it could easily be labeled as Aphex-tackles-a-jungle-track, but it's light years beyond that definition, or any definition for that matter.

What makes Syro such a wonder is its singularity — it's immune to anything contemporary, demonstrating blatant disregard for all that's changed since Aphex Twin's last release, and yet it somehow manages to sound fresh. Both a tremendous step forward and a good look back, Syro is amongst the cream of 2014 electronic releases. (Daryl Keating)