Rival Consoles is otherwise known by his non-robot name, Ryan Lee West, a dude with a lot of electronic equipment who makes some truly subversive IDM. His new EP, entitled 'Sonne', contains six original tracks based around analogue synths which act to create his rhythms. West is obsessed with the synthesis of music and colour which makes for a record developing in many different sonic shades: it's best called lush.
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The sun's gone out in Leeds, but for Ryan Lee West, the man behind Rival Consoles, that's not a real problem. Sure, this may be because he's based in London, but mostly because he's dedicated his latest offering on Erased Tapes to our mutual ball of gas - so much so that it appears to have impaired his vision and is now seeing colours, apparently another major influence on this EP. While there is no kaleidoscope unfolding in front of me as I listen, the sonic equivalent is present, a rich atmospheric tapestry that showcases the care taken in mixing such a vibrant palette. Both texture and melody are top-notch, the latter mostly fitting into the 'deep' and 'epic' categories that labelmate Nils Frahm enjoys. I'd say the ol' Sol would be happy with that.
'Sonne' sits somewhere in between the danceable and the chilled, keeping an even midtempo pace for most of the running time, particularly on the techno/house orientated '3 Chords' and 'Helios', rising to a beat on closer 'Recovery' that takes cues from a very subdued version of Drum & Bass. Percussive elements are quite minimal, with sun-toasted synth parts providing the majority and some small glitches filling in the gaps. This, coupled with the often serrated, but always beautiful, melodies, makes for an overall tone that is similar to Jon Hopkins' recent LP 'Immunity'. There're even hints of the synth patchworks of pioneer Laurie Spiegel on opener 'Sonne', a fitting intro piece.
So, if the summer's over for you or not, you'll no doubt find some refreshing rays here. Next time it rains, put this on and your shades.
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- Sonne by Rival Consoles
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