(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #316: Rival Consoles

By on Wednesday, 17th December 2014 at 12:00 pm

The stage name Rival Consoles suggests either a love for gaming or a love of electronic wizardry. I’ll have to ask London producer Ryan L. West in person in Austin where this name comes from, but in the meantime, I’ll focus on the minimalist yet amazing soundscapes he creates.

One of West’s masterpieces, an EP entitled ‘Vemeer’ under his previous moniker Aparatec, was London indie label Erased Tapes’ first release. West has stuck with the avant-garde company, having released his latest six-track EP under the Rival Consoles name, ‘Sonne’, this past September. While “Sonne” is the German word for sun, the opening title track begins with a feeling of cold, not warmth, for the first third: there is an iciness to the bouncy notes with a slight echo. At about the 1 minute, 30-second mark, the tune turns warmer, more optimistic. I can’t help but feel like this is West’s way of electronically demonstrating a sunrise. Track three, ‘Helios’ (aka the God of the Sun to the ancient Greeks), seems to be the happy, peppy big brother of ‘Sonne’, doing a hop, skip and jump across a sun-dappled sequencer (listen to the track below). ‘Haunt’ is driving in the electronic way: never staying in one place, yet with handclaps placed in all the right places to keep things ever interesting.

West’s ‘Sonne’ is the latest in a string of Erased Tapes releases that confirms his is a still very much unique perspective on the often popularly overlooked art of electronica. The title track to Rival Consoles’ 2013’s EP ‘Odyssey’ (blimey, he must really be in love with them Greeks of yore), has already amassed an impressive over 50,000 plays on Soundcloud. Clearly, he must be doing something right.

West is currently hard at work at the Rival Consoles’ debut album, which I hope will be out in late 2015. Ahead of that, he’ll be making the rounds at SXSW 2015 in Austin in March, likely soothing the savage beasts that all too often lurk after too much drink has been consumed by the wee hours of the morning…

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