RIVAL CONSOLES: The Decadent EP (Erased Tapes)


Posted on Jan 9th 2008 12:41 am

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Rival Consoles: The Decadent EP

The Decadent EP
Erased Tapes 2007
06 Tracks. 20mins23secs
Format: 10″ / Digital

Rival Consoles is the project of twenty-one year old Leicester-based Ryan Lee West. Although this is his first outing as Rival Consoles, West has previously released an EP, already on Erased Tapes, in early 2007 under his Aparatec moniker. Claiming influences stretching from Debussy to Autechre, it is no surprise to find the Decadent EP combining orchestral and electronic textures into tight and angular pieces.

With The Decadent EP, West takes the listener on a journey ranging from the twisted electro of Seventeen and the elegant orchestral swathes of Juncture to the incendiary rush of Kitsch, the warm synthetic waves of The Decadent and the soothing tones of Vari. West’s music may find its roots in the work of Aphex Twin, Autechre and Squarepusher, but this EP has undeniable personality and benefits from an oblique approach which allows him to steer it away from conventional contemporary electronic records and into much more chaotic and unpredictable ground. Despite often displaying harsh soundscapes and beat structures, the compositions are surprisingly melodic and accessible.

Juncture opens the proceedings with gentle waves of synthetic strings which convolute into a sumptuous backdrop over which a melody progressively takes shape. Later on, Kitsch appears to kick off on similar ground, but the orchestral section is reinforced by a high octane syncopated beat formation and acid squelches, giving the piece a much harsher oppressive form. Seventeen, The Decadent and Acid demonstrate a more purely electronic lineage. While the former, with its gritty bass and pulsating melody, wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Aphex release, the title track is a much more playful piece of bouncy electro which recalls leftfield Detroit techno at its most creative. Acid, which concludes the EP, does very much what its title suggests. Nervous and irritable, the piece is however tempered by a much calmer melodic background.

In contrast, Vari reveals a much more atmospheric and introvert side. The focus is here much more centered on textures and ambience, even as the beat kicks in. West makes once again good use of orchestral tones but pushes them a bit deeper within the mix as to soften the contours of his composition. The vinyl comes with a unique code that gives access to the whole EP in digital format, downloadable from the Erased Tapes website, including the bonus track Sunday, which takes on an altogether different path. It is here that West’s classical influences are most obvious. Entirely played on piano, the piece appears to leave behind the tormented electro that precedes it in favour of a much more mournful ambience.

Dense and feverish, The Decadent EP is a very promising first released from West as Rival Consoles. Ryan Lee West crafts here a splendid example of modern electronic music at its most interesting and yet, he manages to keep his work accessible and enjoyable. On the strength of this, Rival Consoles is definitely an act to watch in 2008. A very impressive release.


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Comments (2)

2 Responses to “RIVAL CONSOLES: The Decadent EP (Erased Tapes)”

  1. kealohaon 20 Feb 2008 at 11:56 am

    loving erased tape records at the moment, this is another great release for them.

  2. themilkmanon 20 Feb 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Indeed. I’d say that ET are one of the most promising labels at the moment. They seem to be showing great diversity, but excellent focus. Definitely one of the labels to watch.