Ryan Lee West is a critically acclaimed, London-based electronic music producer, best known as Rival Consoles. Over the course of his 15 plus-year career, the London-based electronic music producer’s work has diversified from the challenging electronic output of his early EPs to gradually become more conceptual and metamorphic: 2020’s Articulation used drawings and sketches to imagine and developed each track while 2021’s Overflow explored themes of the human and emotional consequences of life surrounded by advancing technologies, including social media — and was composed for choreographer Alex Whitley‘s contemporary dance production of the same name.
West’s consistent desire to create a more organic, humanized sound often sees the acclaimed British producer often developing early ideas on guitar or piano; forming pieces that capture and evoke a sense of songwriting behind the electronics. His eighth album, last year’s Now Is featured some of the most playful and melodic material of West’s catalog in some time, with the album’s material drawing from music, art, film, colors, shapes and even human emotions.
“The title of the record Now Is interests me because it is the beginning of a statement, but it is incomplete. I like art that is open and suggestive of ideas even if they are inspired by very specific things,” West explains. “With my previous record Overflow being very dark, heavy and almost dystopian, I wanted to escape into a different world with this music and ended up creating a record which is a lot more colorful and euphoric.”
I wrote about three singles off the album:
- The Autobahn-era and Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk-like album title track “Now Is,” which features a a relentless motorik pulse and glistening synth arpeggios that manage to evoke prismatic bursts of color exploding before the listener’s eyes.
- “World Turns,” which also features a relentless motorik pulse built from a propulsive bass lines, glistening synths and twitter and woofer rattling industrial thump paired with a gently morphing song structure that sees tempo and tone shifts throughout. The end result is soulful, thoughtful electronic music with a human soul and beating heart.
- “Running,” a deceptively simple composition built around a single melodic idea — a glistening synth line that subtly morphs and bends throughout. The synth melody is paired with skittering thump and a motorik pulse that propels the song towards its conclusion — a gentle fade out. “I am very into classical music and the kind of structures and ideas they often use, and love the works which take a single melodic idea and create multiple variations from it,” West explains. “That is what I tried to do with this piece, where every single thing is a variation on the opening ten second theme. I spent over one year exploring a huge amount of variations from light to very heavy. Over much time I ended up being more inspired by the subtler, gentler variations, which allow the idea to breathe, which is a theme on this record.”
West’s latest Rival Consoles single “Coda” is the first bit of new material since the release of Now Is. The incredibly nocturnal “Coda” is built around an eerie chord progression that slowly twists, turns and morphs as it builds up tempo paired with skittering beats and a relentless motorik-like groove. The composition manages to evoke a somnambulant and woozy buzz of energy.
“’Coda’ started as a really late night experiment around a chord progression that seemed haunting but also had some strange beauty,” West says. “The whole piece is centered around this theme. I wanted to embrace the dark and quiet moments of the nighttime but also the energy of people who were maybe moving around London late at night with a nod to house music.”
Along with the release of the single, West announced his first North American tour dates in over five years. The tour includes a September 27, 2023 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
|Rival Consoles Live Dates|
|06.02 Trevi, IT —Dancity Festival|
|07.02 Largs, UK —Kelburn Garden Party 2023|
|08.03 Guimaraes, PT — L’Agosto 2023|
|08.08 Agrigento, IT — Ellenic Music Festival 2023|
|09.01 Várpalota, HG —INOTA Festival 2023|
|09.27 Brooklyn, NY — Music Hall of Williamsburg|
|09.29 Montréal, QC — Théâtre Fairmount|
|09.30 Toronto, ON — Velvet Underground|
|10.04 Chicago, IL — Sleeping Village|
|10.06 San Francisco, CA — The Independent|
|10.07 Los Angeles, CA — Lodge Room|
|10.10 Austin, TX — Parish|
|10.14 Mexico City, MX — TBD|
|10.21 Hannover, DE — Kulturzentrum Pavilion|
|10.27 Pully, SW — Théâtre de l’Octogone|
|11.02 Vienna, AU — Grelle Forelle|
|11.03 Prague, CZ — Erased Tapes 2023|
|11.04 Katowice, PL — Hipnoza|
|11.05 Warsaw, PL — Niebo|
|11.07 Helsinki, FI — Tavastia Klubi|
|11.09 Stockholm, SE — Debaser|
|11.10 Copenhagen, DK — Rust|
|11.12 Hamburg, DE — Nochtspeicher|
|11.13 Berlin, DE — GRETCHEN|
|11.14 Cologne, DE — Stadtgarten|
|11.17 Paris, FR — Le Trabendo|
|11.18 Brussels, BE — Bozar|