Published Apr 09, 2018Over the past decade, Ryan Lee West (aka Rival Consoles) has been crafting a brand of instrumental electronic music that has come off earnest, affecting and downright human. And with his latest LP, Persona, the Leicester, UK musician has found further inspiration from a very particular celluloid muse.
Upon seeing a scene from the 1966 Ingmar Bergman film of the same name (in which a child is reaching out towards a woman's face), West based his fourth album around the specific feeling the flick's opening images invoked. With titles such as "Memory Arc," "Sun's Abandon" and "Dreamer's Wake," West constructs a soundscape where each beat is rounded and faded while melodies ebb and flow into each other.
Tracks like "Unfolding," "Rest" and "Fragment" help draft up this affecting visage, as West allows rhythms to reveal themselves as the songs unravel, never cluttering the melodies, while keeping BPMs tempered and ideas simple but absorbing. Introducing barely audible and comprehensible vocal samples into "Sun's Abandon" and "Dreamer's Wake" perfectly validates West's dedication to keeping musical choices subtle and natural feeling.
As the album comes to a close, "Rest" and "Hidden" begin to work off of fuzzy, pulsating beats and slow, trancelike synth passages, proving that Rival Consoles certainly holds a blueprint to the dreamworld contained within Persona. (Erased Tapes)