Ryan Lee West aka Rival Consoles presents his expressive new album Persona via Erased Tapes. The title was inspired by Ingmar Bergman's film of the same name, specifically a shot in the opening credits of a child reaching out to touch a woman's face on a screen, which is shifting between one face and another. This powerful image struck Ryan and it inspired the album's main theme – an exploration of the Persona, the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us, the spaces in between; between states, people, light and dark, the inner Persona and the outer persona.
Recorded at his studio in south-east London, Persona benefits from Ryan's exploration of a dynamic production process that combines analogue-heavy synthesizers, acoustic and electric instruments with a shoegaze-level obsession with effect pedals. A greater depth of emotion and confidence can be heard across the album. From the deconstructed movements on "Unfolding" that starts the record with a snap of delayed snares, the apocalyptic drones of the title cut and thundering drums in "Phantom Grip" to more restrained ambient feels of "Dreamer's Wake," "Rest" and "Untravel." The latter transverses six beatless minutes of undulating melodies representing "a limbo space, a feeling of ennui, of not really ever being known to others and others not ever really being known to you."
"Be Kind" reveals a musical connection with fellow Erased Tapes artist Nils Frahm, with its minimal approach and improvisational nature. On the more complex sounding "I Think So" Ryan aims to replicate a color collage with sound. Like a musical kaleidoscope, a flashing and convoluted mass. Written after he saw Slowdive perform live last year, "Hidden" builds from whispers to landscapes of controlled noise. "Fragment" closes the album as an innocent sounding ambient piece, almost nursery rhyme like, yielding time for reflection on how the Persona has changed.