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Rival Consoles Scuttles and Murmurs Magnificently on ‘Howl’

Avant-garde London label Erased Tapes’ is perhaps best-known for artists such as Dawn of Midi — three jazzists who vibe together in the pitch black — and stunning Icelandic producer Oláfur Arnalds; but its lesser-known flagship signing is a producer named Ryan Lee West, a.k.a. Rival Consoles. Like his peers, West’s forthcoming album, Howl, scratches at the mind’s aural as well as its intellectual pleasure centers: he says it was inspired by running synthesizers through guitar pedals.

“Howl,” the nine-track effort’s first listen, chugs forward with the same feathery mechanics as Jon Hopkins’ “Open Eye Signal” or the most powerful songs on Sarah Neufeld and Colin Stetson’s Never Were the Way She Was, picking up noises along the way like a sticky, rolling ball of tack: roiling blasts and bleats of horns, distant yowls of feedback, and grittily twinkling synths accompany the song on its mesmerizing journey.

Says West of the track, “By slowly drifting the pitch through distortion and delays, the result sounded like vocal cries — something which was perfect for the song and this inspired me to take on a darker set of tones across the whole album. It was made over the past few years, inspired by capturing small performances on synths, touring with some of my musical heroes, playing with feedback when I should have been catching a train, sampling my voice in unexpected conditions and recording textures in different countries.”

Listen here and find the track list below. Howl is out October 16 on Erased Tapes.

Howl track list:
1. “Howl”
2. “Ghosting”
3. “Afterglow”
4. “Pre”
5. “Walls”
6. “Low”
7. “3 Laments”
8. “Morning Vox”
9. “Looming”