Monday, January 24, 2022

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Sound Check


Aphex TwinAphex Twin



How much you enjoy “Syro” will depend entirely on how much attention you’ve been paying to Richard D. James, the lone mind behind Aphex Twin. To the casual electronic music observer, “Syro” is Aphex Twin’s first release in nearly 13 years and will probably sound like a welcome return to form from one of the generally regarded masters of the format. More hardcore listeners, however, will know that James has released nearly 70 tracks worth of material in the past decade, under one name or another. If you’re familiar with even a fraction of them, “Syro” will strike you as more of the same, with little in the way of innovation or daring. There’s no debating that the album is a solid piece of work, nor is there room to question James’ talents as an artist. But nobody will walk away from “Syro” feeling like it’s anything they haven’t heard before. CV

Lady Gaga & Tony BennettGaga and Bennett


“Cheek to Cheek”


Back in 2011, Tony Bennett released his second “Duets” album. It was an uneven affair in which Bennett did most of the heavy lifting, but probably the biggest highlight to come out of the effort was Bennett’s Duet with Lady Gaga on “The Lady is a Tramp.” The pair had so much fun with it that plans for a full album of just the two of them began almost immediately, and now here we are. Bennett is still the greatest living singer of American standards, but if the album works (and I say it does), here’s why: it’s easy to lose sight of what is behind the meat dresses and theatrics and pomp of being Lady Gaga, but at the end of the day, Stefani Germanotta can flat-out BELT. She’s clearly got a passion for the music, and a deep affinity for Bennett. Even when the album misfires (“Nature Boy”), the fun the pair is having with the material is infectious. CV

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