Posted on Jun 30th 2009 01:01 am

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Rival Consoles: IO

Erased Tapes 2009
11 Tracks. 46mins05secs

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Behind Rival Consoles is Ryan Lee West, a relative new comer hailing from Leicester, who, in the space of just three EPs for London-based Erased Tapes, has confidently established himself as one of the most exciting new British talents. While his first two EPs, The Decadent, released two years ago, and Helvetica, which appeared earlier this year, showed West in a variety of moods, placing him loosely between Aphex Twin and μ-ziq, his latest delivery, coming as a split EP with Icelandic classical composer Ólafur Arnalds, operating under his techno alter ego Kiasmos, showcased a much more focused, sharp and dance floor orientated sound.

IO continues on the tone of the EP by collecting all three tracks featured on it plus another eight cuts of a similar calibre. Bookending this collection are the anthemic Milo and ARP, which appear to gain in temperament here as part of a bigger picture. Milo, which opens the festivities, rolls on pretty smoothly on the pseudo-acid squelches that supports its main theme, but with IO, which follows, West considerably hardens the tone by emphasising on a much more incisive drum and bass section and conditioning around it a series of hard-hitting metallic sounds. This is very much the formula, applied in various ways, that drives the rest of this album.

1985, XPR VR or Digital Fuck all appear more settled, but West uses here a highly gritty panoply of sounds which he substantiates by placing smooth melodic loops right at the heart of these. Elsewhere, the mood is resolutely more angular and aggressive (Preoccupied Fashion Bastard) or hyperactive (Agenda), while Electorate, Pvar or Func especially reveal a surprising dreamy side as West plays with gentler soundscapes and allows them to develop away from the main rhythmic section. Bringing this album to a close is the utterly excellent ARP, which already stole the show on the EP and does so once again here, its thumping melody perfectly tuned to the heavy groove to turn it into one of the most uplifting and exhilarating piece of techno heard in a long while.

IO is an incredibly robust album which, behind its hard edges, often reveals a much softer and smooth side. This is however an album created primarily for the dance floor, and it delivers impeccably here, with Ryan Lee West producing some extremely effective grooves all the way through. Occasionally recalling the angularity of Clark’s Turning Dragon or his use of thick electronics, IO is the confident debut album of a man dotted of a clear vision and a sharp mind.


Icon: arrow Rival Consoles (MySpace) | Erased Tapes
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2 Responses to “RIVAL CONSOLES: IO (Erased Tapes)”

  1. […] Velo is like Daft Punk getting deep down and dirty with Clark. If the first Rival Consoles album, IO, released two years ago, was like a rollercoaster ride through the last twenty years of techno, […]

  2. THE 2009 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 03 Feb 2012 at 12:33 am

    […] CONSOLES IO Erased […]