Today, hot-100 pop typically treats the nighttime as one homogenous spatiotemporal terrain. Regardless of an artist’s idiosyncrasies, this terrain usually takes one of a few shapes: a dance floor, a table dusted with narcotics, an interminable highway edged with neon. Turn on the radio, and one of these shapes will probably meet your ear. In Daft Punk’s omnipresent neo-disco bacchanalia “Get Lucky”, for instance, this span from dusk to dawn was nothing but one long, alcohol-fueled indulgence in late-summer lust; in “All Night”, the chugging gospel-pop anthem from Chance the Rapper’s excellent Coloring Book, it was even less – a protracted pull from a bottle, a receding hope that the morning won’t come.
Night Melody is Ryan Lee West's first Rival Consoles release following the breakup of a 13-year relationship. The short album is relatively straightforward, with six tracks of subdued, atmospheric techno -- no filler, no beating around the bush. The album isn't quite as dark or sad as one might expect, given the context. It seems like a logical extension of the path he's been taking with his previous few recordings.
Johannesburg. There is a buzz going on in this city, an incessant electric hum that never shuts up. It has become all too familiar, practically embedded. My brain is insoluble and full of what. It throbs with the scathing joy of a reckless profligate, brooding about the drab chic of the streets ….
As 2015's Howl was enjoying critical acclaim in electronic circles across the globe, its composer Ryan Lee West (a.k.a. Rival Consoles) was experiencing a sea change involving how he would approach his craft. Exiting a 13-year romantic relationship while wrapping up his most ambitious tour to date, the London-based musician began spending his newly vacant evenings writing music and experiencing the nightlife.The resulting mini-album, Night Melody, is the result of these subterranean journeys, as West began to focus on the emotional elements of each song rather than their technical execution.
Night Melody sounds less like a batch of new musical ideas from London artist Ryan West than a direct continuation of last year's Howl, his third album for Erased Tapes. As such, the detailed, emotive electronica of artists like Jon Hopkins and Clark still looms over this six-track mini-album, and the mood of each piece sticks to a narrow range between quietly brooding and vaguely anthemic. But it's not only business as usual for Rival Consoles.
Rival Consoles 'Night Melody' (Erased Tapes)The Erased Tapes labels are one of the great successes of the decade. This is mainly thanks to the solemn post-classical sounds of the likes of Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds, but there’s much more to the label than that – and electronica producer Rival Consoles has been with them from the very start. On this new six-track mini album, his sound has become richer and more complex than ever before, with airborne trance synths over deep bass, layered percussion rhythms and occasional washes of shoegaze guitar.