Ed Riman is a half-Welsh, half-Indonesian, London-based singer/songwriter, soundscape artist and creative mastermind behind the acclaimed solo recording project Hilang Child, which derives its name from the Malay word for “missing.” Initially starting his recording career as a drummer, the acclaimed London-based singer/songwriter and soundscape artist’s early solo work caught the attention of Cocteau Twins‘, Lost Horizons‘ and Bella Union Records head Simon Raymonde, who championed Riman — and then invited him to collaborate on Lost Horizon’s debut effort Ojalá.
Largely influenced by Imogen Heap, Bat for Lashes, Steve Reich, Paul Thomas Saunders, Hundred Waters, Nobuo Uematsu and The Beach Boys‘ Smile, Riman’s early work drew comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Sigur Rós — with the London-based singer/songwriter and soundscape artist’s sound displaying a similar ethereal spaciousness paired with yearning vocals. Riman’s Hilang Child debut, 2018’s Years was a leap forward with the material featuring multi-tracked harmonies while featuring a loose overacting theme of embracing adulthood. At the time, Riman strongly believed that in order to achieve the sound he wanted, he had to produce his debut himself, despite having little knowledge of production.
Although Years continued an impressive run of material released to lavish praise from the likes of BBC’s Lauren Laverne, Q Magazine, MOJO and a long list of others, Riman found the album’s creative process to be isolating. Feeling pressured and alone in the aftermath of Years, Riman found himself rapping with self-esteem issues and anxiety, amplified by social media’s “fulfillment narratives.”With his highly-anticipated, JMAC co-produced sophomore album Every Mover, Riman changed things up radically. Thematically, Every Mover reportedly sees Riman navigating and overcoming these mindsets while drawing deeply on his own insecurities and those he recognized in others.
Inspired and informed by his experience creating Years, Riman’s sophomore album finds the London-based artist hungry to find new ways to create, write and record music, collaborating with an eclectic array of equally acclaimed artists. “The greatest thing about being a musician is experiencing it with other people,” Riman says. “Whether that’s playing with others, creating together, sharing a vision, whatever, I just think in all aspects it’s a totally elevated experience when you’re not alone.”
As Riman says of Every Mover, “I wanted it to sound a bit gutsier than the first album. Heavier and closer to the kind of stuff that hits me when I go to shows or blast music in the car. I started out in music as a drummer playing for pop or beat-driven artists and grew up listening to louder stuff, but a lot of the music I’ve made as Hilang Child has been more ethereal. I wanted to bring it back to a place that feels more ‘me’ and make more of a thing of having big hypnotic drums, aggressive bass, ripping distorted instruments and a general energy to it.”
“King Quail,” Every Mover‘s fifth and latest single is a glittering, motorik groove-driven bit of spacey shoegaze centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, Riman’s self-assured yet plaintive and ethereal vocals, twinkling and an enormous Brit Pop-like hook paired with deeply introspective lyrics.
“King Quail’ is about taking a step back and realizing the absurdity of modelling one’s life and appearance around what you think others want to see, rather than living for yourself,” Riman explains in press notes. “It’s about learning to be comfortable the way you are, breaking away from that fear of rejection and the feeling that we have to exaggerate ourselves into some showpiece to gain the validation of others. The song started one night in Wyldest frontwoman Zoe Mead’s basement studio in Greenwich. I had this OP-1 loop and a motorik 808 beat, which I’d been messing around with for a while. We spent the night jamming over it and shaping it into a psychedelic, krautrocky pop-song with Zoe adding spacey guitar and myself reworking the drums, allowing the groove to loosen up. We ended up using a large chunk of the demo in the final version with my co- producer JMAC (Troye Sivan, Haux, Lucy Rose) adding some finishing touches to hone the song.”
Directed by Riman and filmed by Elliot Tatler, the recently released video or “King Quail” features a spectral Riman on a rocky, very English beach. Rapidly switching between a shirtless Riman, Riman wearing a blue shirt and Riman in a blue shirt and headdress-like covering, we see the rising British artist moving as though he were performing an ancient ritual through the influence of hallucinogens.
Every Mover is slated for a January 8, 2021 release through Bella Union.
And surge forwards he does with the glittering synths, spacey guitars, and Krautrock propulsion of “King Quail”, developed in jam sessions with dream-pop wonder Zoe Mead (Wyldest) in her basement studio.
The birth was not always smooth: due to Covid-19, tours were cancelled and studios closed. Thankfully, most of the main parts were recorded pre-lockdown between East London, Gateshead, Brighton, Wandsworth and elsewhere, before mixing proceeded remotely. Meanwhile, alongside indie-pop trio OUTLYA’s Will Bloomfield (percussion/co-production on ‘Play ’Til Evening’), visual design collective Tough Honey (accompanying videos) and other collaborators, Riman’s bond with co-producer JMAC (Troye Sivan, Haux, Lucy Rose) proved crucial. “It felt freeing to work collaboratively and have that push-and-pull of ideas,” says Riman. “Even the moments where we didn’t see eye-to-eye made it feel like I wasn’t alone, with someone else working just as passionately on the project.” That sense of passion lights up Every Mover, an album that hymns the redemptive qualities of richly expressive music crafted in simpatico unison with friends. “I get told I’m quite an openly emotional person,” says Riman, “and I suppose the extremes in this album reflect that! But I also wanted the album to roughly follow the mental flow of feeling worthless, then recognizing it, then accepting your shortcomings and trying to work on it, then coming out unscathed on the other side. I’m still not fully out of the spiral. The Covid apocalypse, alongside some personal life changes, have definitely caused it to resurface. But I’m glad I made this album as a kind of cathartic primer on trying to deal with it.” Now, time for other people to experience it too.