Rival Consoles - Now Is Music Album Reviews

Rival Consoles - Now Is Music Album Reviews
The London electronic musician’s painterly, atmospheric production style yields deftly layered headphone music adorned with occasional dancefloor flourishes.

Ryan Lee West, aka Rival Consoles, has always searched for new ways to approach his synthesizers, whether translating sketches into scores on Articulation or daisy-chaining effects pedals to create the busy textures of Howl. The London producer’s restless tone-seeking and expressive ambience easily meld with other mediums. Recently, his music has provided the ominous underpinnings of a contemporary dance production, the pulsating cues for a soccer documentary, and the droning accompaniment to supermodel Bella Hadid having a dress sprayed directly onto her body. With Now Is, West has crafted a soundtrack to his own pandemic-induced lockdown. Appropriately, it’s sometimes tedious and occasionally revelatory, oscillating between comforting recollections of the past and tentative inklings of the future.

An inward-looking suite of tracks made in solitude isn’t exactly new territory for West, whose painterly, atmospheric production style yields deftly layered headphone music, in spite of some propulsive dancefloor flourishes. And the decidedly contemplative bent of Now Is is nothing less than routine among the growing canon of records predominantly created in lockdown; West’s former labelmate Nils Frahm recently stretched the “stuck-in-quar” mood into three painstakingly pensive hours. Many of the tracks on Now Is were conceived as miniature scores to film clips or as deliberate counterpoints to the sinister tone of 2021’s Overflow, but they’re still beholden to West’s usual palette of stuttering synths, sparse rhythms, and reverberating flourishes. While songs like “Echoes” and “World Turns” refine the sound of previous Rival Consoles albums, West is most compelling when he’s consciously subtracting familiar elements or introducing new variables.

West says that while recording Now Is, he tried to be “confident enough to bring very subtle details to the front and let them just be.” Classical music served as one of his primary muses, though he’s more interested in channeling the delicate interplay and timbre of orchestral sound than replicating the dense structure of symphonic bombast. “Running” and “Vision of Self” embrace the tenets of minimalism, featuring short synth motifs that resemble string arrangements, repeating and slowly shifting as embellishments are introduced. Hearing these songs gradually transform and reveal themselves requires patience, but neither track feels like it’s building to some inevitable crescendo—here, the journey is the point.

Now Is occasionally gets bogged down in tunes that sap the album’s deliberate momentum, such as the cold, percussive “Frontiers.” Written as an ode to dramatic Icelandic scenery, it’s a track that you might expect to mirror the sweeping landscapes of a nature documentary, but it settles for the fade-into-the-background energy of generic video-game music (probably an ice level). Just before its conclusion, Now Is enters another lull as West leans into the acutely listless tendencies of ambient music (“The Fade”) and toys with nu-jazz stylings (“A Warning”).

The warped melody of a muted piano offers resolution at the album’s close. The instrument is rarely the centerpiece of West’s music, which makes its use here all the more striking. The gentle hiss of the looped piano on “Quiet Home” lends a sense of physical space and grounded reality, contrasted with West’s typical array of electronic noise suspended in reverb. In interviews, West insists that he rebelled against the notion of writing a predictably mournful pandemic-era record, but the album’s sparse, willfully earthbound final minutes betray the melancholy at its core. Thankfully, Now Is doesn’t devote too much time to wallowing. West is far more interested in the musical possibilities that a stretch of enforced downtime can eventually reveal.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Rival Consoles - Now Is Music Album Reviews Rival Consoles - Now Is Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 25, 2022 Rating: 5


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