That Ryan Lee West, better known as Rival Consoles, has recorded an album as a companion to a dance production – Andrew Whitley’s Overflow, from which the album also takes its name – is at once surprising and completely in step with his process. After all, the album that burst him onto the international scene, Persona, was inspired by, and intended as something of a companion to, Ingmar Bergman’s legendary film of the same name.
Beyond this, his music has long sought to find the humanity within his often haunting electronic soundscapes, and the performance piece immediately suits his long held interests, exploring “themes of the human and emotional consequences of life surrounded by data”, a concept West quickly lost himself within.
Speaking on the process, he shares, “I was in the studio a lot with Alex and the dancers, trying things out throughout the process. And even during dry runs in theatres I was composing short works in the moment on my laptop that ended up being used, such as ‘Scanning’, which was made from an electromagnetic recording of the internal workings of an iPhone whilst using social media. In the big data world of social media and cookies everything is invisible, silent and hidden behind a pleasant, enticing aesthetic. I thought it would be interesting to do the opposite and have a very scratchy, mechanical, noisey scanning sound that sheds light on what is actually happening. If everytime our data was taken and sold or used, we heard a weird clicking sound, that would completely change how we perceive it.“
To mark the project’s announcement, he’s shared its opening track, the sprawling, yet fleeting, and ultimately frightening “Monster”. West shares, “‘Monster’ has a kind of drunken madness to it, highly repetitive to mirror the repetitive nature of how we as humans engage with technology such as social media. It’s sometimes edging towards chaos but yet always returning back to the same starting point, but eventually giving way to exhaustion. I wanted to create a bold opening piece for Overflow.“