Three years after Howl, London-based producer Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles returned with a new album titled Persona. The title was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s film of the same name, specifically a shot in the opening credits of a child reaching out to touch a woman’s face on a screen, which is shifting between one face and another.
First time I heard “Persona” and “Phantom Grip” from this LP, an image slowly took place in my head and that’s somehow how I’d define Rival Consoles fourth full lenght album.
It sounds like being on a vast shore of an exotic island, sorrounded by lively colours and an azure sea. But further over the ocean surface there’s a grey storm menacing this kind of paradise, getting closer and closer.
Ryan Lee West proves once again to be one of the most interesting electronic artists nowadays. As already done with 2015’s Howl for example, he releases another harmonious work in which fury and calm alternate each other from track to track.
Songs like “Hidden” or “Phantom Grip” are proofs of his constant ability to pursue rhythm, even if, this time, it all seems a bit more repetitive. “Morning Vox” or “Looming” from his previous LP, were slightly more inspired works on the rhythmic section.
When it’s time to pay attention on a deeper, profound spiritual side of his music, Ryan releases tracks like “Untravel“, an epic ambient texture, where the listener may find a way to get in contact with his own inner side.
“Be Kind” is a witness of his ability to put in music a sense of childhood and innocence as well.
Persona, released via Erased Tapes, sounds like a willingness to concentrate more on the thoughtful side of electronic music, like many other artists are trying to do right now (take for instance also Jon Hopkins’ Singularity).
It’s a bit of a suffering not to be able to obtain from this album the same onrush of some of Howl‘s tracks, but every artists may face a phase of his carrer in which spirit needs to be turned into notes.