Published Apr 16, 2019Stripped back, melodically minded thoroughfare is a central tenet of the music coming out of labels like Ostgut Ton, Klockworks and MDR these days. Canadian-born, Berlin-based Ryan James Ford has appeared on the latter with his own canorous musings. His approach, however, is focused less specifically on melodies and more on enveloping atmospherics, with creations that span the range of techno, breakbeat and ambient music. Now, he presents Out of the Wreckage, his first EP of the year.
The five tracks on the record are reasonably laconic, but never overly curt. Each serves to fulfil a distinct piece in Ford's sonic repertoire, and each does so commendably. The first (and most enterprising), "Public Domain," begins skeletally, with a chopped vocal occupying reverbed space. That's all but forgotten when the lead bass sound begins to scaffold vertically throughout the track. "Aylith Yard" switches gears to broken-beat-isms with optimistically orchestrated chord stabs marrying pensive bass tones — nary a rare occurrence on a techno record, given the zeitgeist.
"The Value of Nothing" clatters with swift allegro suspended in the stasis of a warm, euphoric pad sound. It's mostly driven by rapidly repeating pluck sounds, almost an alluding nod to classic trance. In terms of innovativeness, "Erinwoods" is the main purveyor, with percussive blips of unplaceable origin and a lead sound that sits irreverently beneath them. Then, of course, rounding out the EP is our (almost) token beatless excursion in nostalgia. Affective and endearing, "Dreamcast" rounds out the project with its sparse melancholic dulcet tones that ring out into the ether.
In a word, Out of the Wreckage is solid: Ryan James Ford further pivots his sonic compass towards more distinct territory, even if its perhaps at the loss of some cutting edge ingenuity. It's not to say that there's any filler on the record, but rather that there aren't any glistening highlights. Admittedly, in this case, that seems to be well besides the point anyway. (Independent)