Single Review: The Sentimental Electronic Bird Song Of Rival Consoles’ ‘Sudden Awareness Of Now’

Rival Consoles | Sudden Awareness of Now (single)| Erased Tapes

Release Date: 15 July, 2020

Album Release Date: 31 July, 2020

In order to evolve as an artist, experimentation is imperative: stepping outside of one’s ingrained perception and traditional approach to creation is necessary in order to grow. When it comes to the craft of music, without allowing this type of movement within one’s auditory personality it can be easy to fall into patterns that define a particular sound, and furthermore, go on to lose oneself in a sea of others who may find themselves stuck in a narrow way of thinking.

For Ryan Lee West, known under his professional moniker Rival Consoles: the musician has shown a unique and diligent consistency when it comes to experimentation not only within his sound, but within the actual process itself.

In light of his upcoming album ‘Articulation’, scheduled for release on July 31st via Erased Tapes – the London musician and producer decided to approach his compositions in a manner that stems from visual communication: born from imagery, the artist found himself “problem-solving” away from his computer – by using visual representations of his ideas, patterns and sketches he drew himself in order to sculpt his sound in a highly unique manner.

In the release of his latest single leading up to the album ‘Sudden Awareness of Now’, West combined the auditory inspiration of his surroundings – such as the chirping of birds – to work alongside the communication of the synthesizers within the track.

My studio is surrounded by a lot of trees and there is always bird song, which I love but normally don’t consider wanting to use in my music. However one day when I was working on the piece, I kept noticing that the birds, were singing perfectly in tune with the song, so much so that it sounded like one of the little melodies that appears at the end of the song…

…the end is something I have been longing to make for a long time, which is the closest I have gotten to synths coming in and out of picture like choreography, the synths are having a conversation, and it’s very fluid. The mood of the piece to me, is a kind of bittersweet blend of hope and nostalgia.

Opening with tender wash of ambience that can easily garner the label of idyllic – one can’t help but immediately imagine the lush leaves swaying as the birds twitter outside of West’s studio – ‘Sudden Awareness Of Now‘ segues from the honeyed chirps of birds conversing with one another into a driving melody that, while lively in tempo, carries with it a feeling of sadness.

The melody cradles a tone filled with heart – teeming with emotion, West’s description of hope and nostalgia within the track effortlessly tugs on one’s heartstrings, the soft melancholia balanced by a lyrical tone carries a sense of warmth with it, too, a carefully balanced composition that shimmers with personality through its construction. Washes of ambience and the ebb and flow of quiet, swelling synths allow the track to blossom gently as the already sprightly tempo grows in pace and energy, rhythmic, animated synths bouncing in their respective chords. The tranquility of the track returns for a short interlude, the melody and tempo temporarily muted in a moment of introspection.

The ambient interlude segues into a more vivid, dance-focused beat with its adrenaline rich pulse, yet the way in which West manages to balance this type of energetic swirl with the previously mentioned sense of emotional connection is genuinely an impressive feat: with walls of sound building into an overwhelming, ethereal crescendo, ambient interludes and what could be considered a slightly atypical track structure for many genres of electronic music, it brings to mind the compositions of deeply emotional, bittersweet post-rock. The experimentation in sound West is known for glows beautifully within ‘Sudden Awareness of Now’, as it has in his previous works, with his prowess in writing and production remaining very clear – and definitely adding hype to hearing the album in full.

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Rating: 8 / 10

Feature Image: Rival Consoles by Özge Cöne