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Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles presents his expressive new album
‘Persona’, set for release on 13th April 2018 via Erased Tapes.
The title ‘Persona’ was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s film of the same
name, specifically a shot in the opening credits of a child reaching out to
touch a woman’s face on a screen, which is shifting between one face and
another. This powerful image struck Ryan and it inspired the album’s main
theme — an exploration of the persona, the difference between how we see
ourselves and how others see us, the spaces in between; between states,
people, light and dark, the inner persona and the outer persona.
“My music is generally inward looking. I like finding something about the
self within music, that doesn’t have to be specific but maybe asks
something or reveals something. This record is a continuation on the self
through electronic sounds. Like Legowelt once said ‘a synthesiser is like a
translator for unknown emotions’, which I think sums up what I am trying
to do. I think all these emotions we have make up our persona. So in a way
by finding new ones you alter or expand your persona. And that is what I
want my music to try to do. I deliberately aimed to be more sonically
diverse with this record. I wanted to experiment more. I wanted to create
new sounds and new emotions.” — Rival Consoles
Recorded at his studio in south-east London, ‘Persona’ benefits from Ryan’s
exploration of a dynamic production process that combines analogue-heavy
synthesisers, acoustic and electric instruments with a shoegaze-level
obsession with effect pedals. A greater depth of emotion and confidence
can be heard across the album. From the deconstructed movements on
‘Unfolding’ that starts the album with a snap of delayed snares, the
apocalyptic drones of the title track and thundering drums in ‘Phantom Grip’
to more restrained ambient feels of ‘Dreamer’s Wake’, ‘Rest’ and ‘Untravel’.
The latter transverses six beatless minutes of undulating melodies
representing “a limbo space, a feeling of ennui, of not really ever being
known to others and others not ever really being known to you”.
‘Be Kind’ reveals a musical connection with fellow Erased Tapes artist Nils
Frahm, with its minimal approach and improvisational nature. On the more
complex sounding ‘I Think So’ Ryan aims to replicate a colour collage with
sound. Like a musical kaleidoscope, a flashing and convoluted mass.
Written after he saw Slowdive perform live last year, ‘Hidden’ builds from
whispers to landscapes of controlled noise. In an interview with XLR8R
magazine, Ryan explains: “once you start trying to make a sound loud,
then you turn your back on thousands and thousands of sonic possibilities.
One of the best things to do is to start a track with a really quiet, weak
sound.” Taking this idea to its ultimate conclusion, ‘Fragment’ closes the
album as an innocent sounding ambient piece, almost nursery rhyme like,
yielding time for reflection on how the persona has changed.
‘Persona’ follows the success of a series of releases — the ‘Odyssey’ and
‘Sonne’ EPs, long player ‘Howl’, and 2016’s mini album ‘Night Melody’ —
that saw Ryan mature into what Pitchfork has called a “forward-thinking
electronic musician with his own ideas about sound”. Atypical of
instrumental-electronic music, Ryan has achieved a signature sound that’s
unmistakably identifiable as Rival Consoles. Going beyond typical electronic
music production, Ryan defines it as “songwriting with an electronic palette
of sounds”.
The increasingly dynamic live audio-visual show, born from bespoke
performances at the Tate and for Boiler Room at the V&A Museum featuring
self-programmed visuals in Max/MSP, has propelled him to play around the
world. Ryan launches ‘Persona’ at London’s XOYO on 12th April with
further dates to be announced.

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