Wolves fill the night sky with their dissonant howls—sounds that are at once chaotic yet organized, and provide all who understand with a sense of security and belonging. The same could be said about Howl by Rival Consoles. The new album on Erased Tapes from the London-based producer Ryan Lee West works with a palette that’s reduced to the bare minimum. Through the virtuoso game of timing and effects, Rival Consoles creates, with few resources, an oeuvre that combines electronic and acoustic instruments into a work of art. The result is an evocative, self-contained system that devours you with his melancholic, dreamy mood, right to the last note, like a hungry wolf pack.
Stream the album and read our interview with the man himself below:
THUMP: Your own recordings, particularly of your guitar, play a really big role on Howl. What made you want to switch things up and pursue that direction stylistically?
Rival Consoles: It’s something I have been gravitating towards for a few years, but it takes time and confidence to get a good balance. I don’t like to include acoustic sounds for the sake of it, so I’m very particular about how it is done. For example in some pieces the synth sounds are taken from my voice, because the sound of it clicked with the idea at the time in a way that felt powerful. I need little moments of momentum like this.
In the press release, you say that this is your most personal record to date. What lead to that being the case? What was the time recording it like?
A lot of the album references my low mood states over the past few years, in particular “Low,” which has a repetitive sombre chord progression which never changes, symbolizing feeling trapped, but with some sense of hope. I think Howl represents a certain anger, or disruption in me, by allowing the pitches to shift in and out of key the way they do. There are lots of little moments across the record that express different things.
What does the title Howl mean to you?
The album title is simply drawing attention to the howl-like tones in the title track, and also the primal-ness of the album. The record is quite rough but expressive and I think the title works well with this.
This record will be the eighth release you’ve done with Erased Tapes. What makes your relationship with the label work so well?
It is simple and humble, we throw out crap ideas and get excited by good ideas. But I think beyond that it’s a passion to try new things, and not get too caught up in the industry, with all its systems of thought etc. Erased Tapes is successful because it didn’t adopt an exact working model that came before it, but grew its own story and I am lucky to be a part of it.
Rival Consoles’ Howl is out October 16 on Erased Tapes. Get it here.
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