RIVAL CONSOLES: Kid Velo (Erased Tapes)


Posted on Jun 2nd 2011 08:46 am

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Rival Consoles: Kid Velo

Kid Velo
Erased Tapes 2011
11 Tracks. 47mins18secs

Kid 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, acid, electronica and house, it appears that it was nowhere near enough to satisfy mastermind Ryan Lee West’s seemingly insatiable appetite for fun. For with Kid Velo, he turns the dance floor into a vibrant battleground where his heavy artillery fire glitter balls for the entire duration.

Right from the onset of the title track, which opens the festivities, the tone for the rest of the album is set. West distills stomping beats, smears them with graining electronics and wraps them around very effective melodies. It happens so consistently all the way through that it almost becomes formulaic, but he negotiates this pitfall by keeping his pieces short and focused. The pace is relentless, leaving virtually no breathing time throughout. West lines up the goods, from the hard-edged Kid Velo or Into The Heart II, the bouncy S.P.K.R.S or Eve and hectic and playful Amiga, which sounds a tad like a cartoon R2D2 caught in a tornado, to the heavily textured Vos or the surprisingly funky Guitari, pushing this thing cheerfully on. But while there is a certain feeling of sonic unity through the whole record, it is very much an illusion. There are indeed recurring themes here (the main theme in S.P.K.R.S is recycled into the beat-less Rosenthal Road, Into The Heart I and II use very similar sound sources, a number of tracks relying on a common use of frantic melodies), but on closer listen, the scope of the record becomes more apparent. In between heavy synth lines and dense grooves, West injects little sequences which take the record in entirely different directions, if only for a few seconds. This is the case with the opening moments of S.P.K.R.S, where an orchestral sample is left to linger before being irremediably crushed, and while there are indeed very few breathing opportunities throughout, he allows a segment of Vos to lie beat-less, while later on, West does away with beats for the entirety of Rosenthal Road, drenching it instead in dense reverbs, and After Ed., as its swelling synthetic setting brings this album to a rather impressive close.

Kid Velo is unashamedly electronic; West uses a wide array of synthetic-sounding sources but his ultimate goal is to create emotionally packed little vignettes. This works particularly well on After Ed., where he clearly plays on the poignant character of the piece, but it is also very apparent elsewhere, whether it is through the uplifting melody which forms toward the end of I Left The Party, the deeply disturbing and twisted set up of Vos or chirpy overtones of Guitari.

With Kid Velo, West doesn’t reach quite as deep into its influences, but what it occasionally lacks in breadth, it makes up in depth. With this second opus, Ryan Lee focuses on some of the more striking angles of his debut and applies much sharper sounds, textures and grooves to them. Here he reinforces his position as one of the UK’s most interesting new electronic artists, and he does so with an infectious sense of fun.

Prior to its full CD release at the end of the month, the album is currently being unveiled one track at a time on a different website each week.


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Rival Consoles: Kid Velo

Rival Consoles – Vos by erasedtapes

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