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Rival Consoles Howl Erased Tapes


The ghost in the machine is calling, and it’s in the form of a whirring synth. Howl is the new album by Rival Consoles, the London-based electronic producer Ryan Lee West, and it features fellow Erased Tapes collaborators Fabien Prynn and Peter Gregson. From primal rhythms to doleful improvisations, the album follows from last year’s Sonne; and if the former is West’s vision of colour, then Howl is an exploration into a darker, more monochrome territory.

Viscid beats tack statically into droning basslines and like the monotonous flap of a revolving door, each track upholds a certain uniformity reminiscent of an early Jon Hopkins. But unlike the former, Howl holds an organic naturality that puts the man in the machine. This humanised take on techno provides both individuality as it does innovation.

With darker undertones, West’s music paints an unsettling pitch. Walls opens with a ground shaking rumble that collapses into an array of dispersed patters, while 3 Laments opens with a mechanical cooing to arouse humane images of weeping or mourning – as the name suggests. Afterglow throbs to a post-endorphin pulse, momentarily flashing to the events of the night before the glow, and somewhere between the guttural sizzle of bass and the light reduction of drums is the mind of a man whose music, though made by a machine, is very much alive.