Night Melody / Articulation Rival Consoles
- 1Pattern of the North05:50
- 3Slow Song03:52
- 5Night Melody05:22
- 6What Sorrow05:23
- 7Vibrations on a String06:10
- 11Still Here04:24
- 12Sudden Awareness of Now07:15
- 13Articulation (Midori Hirano Remix)05:08
Info for Night Melody / Articulation
Some of London-based electronic songwriter Ryan Lee West’s most recognised work to date comes in the shape of spontaneous EP or so-called mini album releases— clocking in just under the 40-minute mark, keeping their contents urgent, immediate and to the point.
As with his 2013 EP Odyssey and 2014’s Sonne, which were later compiled to a full-length release titled Odyssey / Sonne in 2015, there is a similarly strong synergy between his 2016 mini album Night Melody and this year’s Articulation — made available on CD and digital formats under the title Night Melody / Articulation.
His 34-minute, 6-track mini album Night Melody was born out of and shaped by long hours working into the night. It’s nocturnal in sound; mysterious in the way that the early hours so often are.
The opening statement Pattern Of The North starts off with a collage of spliced synth melodies, inspired by anxiety that accompanies going home for Christmas. It’s followed by Johannesburg, an early sketch gradually filled out during his tour in South Africa. The closing statement What Sorrow is a fitting end to the album, building from gentle melancholia to a joyous crescendo. It’s a sensibility that’s central to the record; joy and sorrow both find their counterpoints.
July 31, 2020 saw the release of his highly anticipated new album Articulation with an equal running time of 34 minutes. Lead track and album centrepiece ‘Articulation’ links the record back to the analogue fluidity and colour of 2016’s Night Melody. The division of varying time signatures, intertwined with a complex structure of notes, creates an expression of a moving structure and conjures a dreamy, motorik energy.
Articulation was conceived with a very visual way of thinking, unusual for the London musician and producer. During the writing process Ryan drew structures, shapes and patterns by hand to try and find new ways of thinking about music, giving himself a way to problem-solve away from the computer. The album title references a piece by the avant-garde contemporary composer Györgi Ligeti, though not for its music, but for the non-traditional graphic score that accompanied it.
The idea of using analogue drawings and tools to bolster digital creations can be heard in the structure of the pieces that make up Articulation from the broody techno opener ‘Vibrations on a String’ all the way to the album’s boundless closer ‘Sudden Awareness of Now’. Rising out of birdsong heard from his studio window, it has a particular urgency about it and seems to perfectly capture a longing for escape. Built around a simple and repetitive melodic theme, expanding and retracting over the course of its seven-minute odyssey.
“I found myself, in a silent home, with the days getting dark very early. I’ve never before in my life been affected by the lack of light so much. I just remember it always being night time. I would either make music into the night, go out drinking with friends, or go to parties and dance into the early hours, every day, week after week, month after month, until eventually the days became brighter again.”
“This record is very personal to me and I hope it offers something for other people, as it helped me to make it and to listen to it. Almost every synth line was recorded intuitively, without perfection but with a lot of intention and expression. I’m not interested in making something sad or making something happy. I want music to be bittersweet, to be more complex, like life – containing moments of vibrant colour and hope, as much as darkness and sadness.”
Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles
Like many electronic artists, Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles spent his early years experimenting with IDM, glitch and dance, but one consistent element in his musical journey has been his desire to create a more organic, humanised sound. Through these experimentations he has found a process of producing electronic music that feels close to this urge. Restricting himself to a small selection of analogue equipment, West engages his hands directly with instruments and is very selective about what he then records into the computer. He reduces musical parts even further, leaving enough space around the sound for it to breath.
Some might be surprised that London based electronic producer Ryan Lee West, the man behind Rival Consoles, shares a home with contemporary classical composers such as Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Peter Broderick. And yet they have a lot more in common than expected. Fascinated by sound from an early age, Ryan chose to dedicate his time to studying, experimenting with and producing sound graduating from De Montfort University in Leicester. West often composes early ideas on piano, violin and guitar, although the end result is much more electronic-laden. As an accomplished sound designer he has repeatedly performed at the Tate, and recently created a bespoke audio-visual performance for Boiler Room at the V&A. Ryan has also produced remixes for New York based composer Nico Muhly and UK producer Jon Hopkins, and composes original music for dance, film and television.
This album contains no booklet.