Organ Thing of The Day: Rrival Consoles returns with a new album – a resonant and explorative soundscape of original music, composed for renowned choreographer Alexander Whitley’s contemporary dance production Overflow, and shares bold opening track ‘Monster’.
More via Bandcamp
“London-based producer Ryan Lee West, better known under the name Rival Consoles, is notable for making synthesisers sound human and atmospheric. It’s rarely reported that Rival Consoles was Erased Tapes’ very first signing, with a CDR of early demos under the name Aparatec that inspired founder Robert Raths to start the label in 2007.”
There is a rather crisp video teaser…
The press release tells us
“Exploring themes of the human and emotional consequences of life surrounded by data, the piece echoes the concept of social media, advertising, marketing companies and political factions exploiting our data to gain wealth, political advantage and sow division. Key reading for the project was based around the contemporary philosophical work Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power by Byung-Chul Han.
“The piece opens with ‘Monster’ which 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,” states Ryan Lee West.
Even before the project started, the London-based producer created a lot of sketches in his home studio which acted as a starting point for Whitley to develop the choreography from. An equal amount of work was created in rehearsal, alongside the dancers, then refined at West’s studio between sessions.
“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.”
‘I Like’ features the mapping of data from dancer Tia Hockey’s personal monologue, which controls the volume of the chords based on the activity of her voice — drawing attention to things happening behind the curtain, invisible systems, algorithms. The album also features the previously released standalone track and slice of euphoria, ‘Pulses of Information‘, which Clash described as “a riveting return. Typically entrancing, [it] seems to encourage a form of internal dialogue, between our inner and outer selves.”
Overflow was premiered by the Alexander Whitley Dance Company in May 2021 at the Sadler’s Wells in London and is scheduled to tour through theatres in Europe in spring 2022. West will embark on a UK headline tour this autumn followed by European and North American dates in the new year.
he score will be released by Erased Tapes on limited edition vinyl and CD as well as digital formats on 3 December 2021. More details
n 2017 New Wave Associate Alexander Whitley combined film and dance for 8 Minutes, a breath-taking journey to the sun. Known for his groundbreaking use of technology, Whitley’s new work delves into what it means to be human in the era of big data. Overflow features a dazzling kinetic light sculpture by Children of the Light with creative technologists Fenyce, costumes by fashion artist Ana Rajcevic and a new score by composer Rival Consoles, who has created music, experimenting with “ambient soundscapes, industrial textures, and high-octane club energy” (Pitchfork), for the Netflix series Black Mirror. Digital technology, now a seemingly indispensable part of modern life, is radically transforming how we experience and act in the world. Overflow considers how our desires, fantasies and vulnerabilities are powerfully influenced by social platforms and explores what lurks beneath our compulsions to check, share and like. “The mounting pile of data does nothing to answer the simple question ‘Who am I?’” Byung-Chul Han. “Behavioural data, mined from human experience, is now the primary commodity in a communication system designed to know everything about us while remaining unknowable to us. Recording our every click and ‘like’ in order to predict and modify our behaviour, our ability to act freely and our relationship to the future are fundamentally changed. In making Overflow, I’ve drawn inspiration from a wealth of fascinating writing exposing the social, political and psychological transformations we are experiencing in the era of big data and considered the impact this is having on personal autonomy and collective action.” Alexander Whitley.