Joss Ryan

“I enjoyed listening to the music that made me want to run upstairs and lay some ideas down.” Joss Ryan explains to me how a wide variety of musical influences at a young age have helped him grow into a self-taught musician. But for the East London DJ and Producer, there was always more on the musical horizon, and his explorations through sound have given him a more refined set of influences. Jazz, Grime, and Soul have played integral roles in shaping Ryan, and it shows in his latest E.P. entitled ‘Blaze Blu’ (Relseased on DVA music).

It’s difficult to categorise the music into a genre, and for good reason. Ryan’s studies of Audio Engineering at the London School of Sound, combined with his five years of production experience have allowed him to conjure a natural ability to intertwine contrasting genres and triumph where others fail in making it sound balanced and effective. In ‘Modesty’ thick Jazz brass introduces a progressive instrumental that evolves into a melodic synth-fest, complete with shuffling piano a soaring string crescendo. Undertones of modern oriental vibe are also apparent, perhaps a throwback to Ryan’s passion for orchestral music in video games such as the Final Fantasy series.

Ryan makes no secret of his desire to develop a sound he “can call his own”, he is constantly reinventing himself to stay fresh. Noting the limitations of playing at clubs, Ryan treads through the dense wilderness of the world of music to discover instruments that he carries with him through all of his productions, gradually scultping a DNA pattern that formulates his sound. ‘Blaze Blu’s’ title track, with it’s anticipatory bellow and pulsating brass, boldly embodies Joss Ryan’s intention to not just push the boundaries, but to attempt to draw new boundaries of his own. “I think to play at a festival like outlook or dimensions is the dream right now, and to develop a ‘live show’ to perform.” Having played at Cable and clubs in the Dalston/Shoreditch area, fans of experimental electronica would be wise to listen out for this highly ambitious artist. 

Listen to his music on soundcloud here

Photography by Jamie Kendrick

The Monty Hall Problem

Glasgow-based band The Monty Hall Problem have been making music for two years now. Having met at school, Lewis, Mark, Ryan, and Timmy quickly developed a great musical repore. Now, with an album coming out early next year that they have funded themselves, a record deal is on the horizon for the four piece combo.

From the formative stages in Glasgow, the boys are now steadily going their separate ways. They now bridge their hometown and Edinburgh, and play most of their gigs in these two cities. They make it work with a combination of hot talent and fierce dedication.

Music is the ultimate goal for all four: their indie, rock n’ roll vibe hones in on the sound of a younger generation, of which they, crucially, are a part. They write all of their own music, testament to outstanding creative powers, and the inspirational use of brass and keyboards gives a profoundly emotive tone to their songs. Their influences include the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Glasvegas, and the Vaccines. They draw a lot of comparisons with these last – tapping into that same young indie vibe, but putting a uniquely Glaswegian crunch on the lyrics and riffs.

Future plans include the promotion of their first album, entitled ‘Is This a Dream or Am I This Lucky’ after a track on the album. Under the tutelage of producer Roger Shephard, it will be out in early 2013. What follows is anyone’s guess, but there are whisperings of a UK tour. For now, check out upcoming gigs on their facebook page, or email that at themontyhallproblem@live.co.uk.

Come see The Monty Hall Problem play in Edinburgh next November 27th for the Scottish stint of the Born in Britain Creative Showcase. Details on the facebook event page.

Marvellous Medicine

If you’ve been searching for the new groove: look no further. How happy I was to be introduced to Oxford-based Marvellous Medicine: very much a mash of jazz and folk, ska and rap, most of their melodies obviously fall into a reggae mood. They say that ‘this is a consistent feature, but you can hear Brecker-inspired funk in our song Colour, klezmer music in Streets and Avenues, and Spice Girls (!) in Girl Back Home.’

Marvellous Medicine met whilst studying at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, (the informal, arty kind of college) and it was the initial efforts of Rob – bass, Piers – keys, Jake – sax, and George – cello/djembe that founded the band. A year later, they were joined by Jamie and Holly, playing the guitar and drums respectively, and together formed MM, the six man wonder-band they are today.

Hailing from all over the UK, their backgrounds are an equally mixed bag when it comes to music. Rob, former member of a thrash metal band, cites a particular love of Bruce Springsteen, which proved of great influence in the song Homecoming. George has had classical training his whole life, and is now a formidable cellist, whilst Piers studied jazz and classical piano in Cardiff. The others are equally enthusiastic about their work, and have all been from an early age. But they do stress that this is foremostly a collaborative effort  – all members of the band sing, and they fondly consider themselves to be ‘a colorful set of personalities, but the music that comes out puts a smile on our faces’. Ours too.

So what’s next for MM? They have just released a four track EP, available on soundcloud here. They intend to continue making music together for the foreseeable future, with the ultimate intention of touring ‘Planet Earth’. I for one cannot wait; this band’s unique and soulful sound is well worth a listen. Catch them on their facebook page: facebook.com/MarvellousMedicine.

bare pale

It’s amazing where a little bit of tech know how can get you, and for young London based band Bare Pale, it looks like infinity and beyond. About a year ago, Matthew (guitar and lead vocals) made tentative steps onto soundcloud. Following an early onslaught of praise and recognition from a slew of music bloggers, the band compounded into what it is today.

Matthew was joined by childhood friends Harry (drums) and Joe C (bass and vocals) to form a holy trinity. Their music comes together somewhat naturally, and has to fit in around already busy schedules. However, after a year of gigging and jamming, bare pale are finally set to release an EP towards the end of this year.

It’s difficult to put a finger on Bare Pale’s sound. Messy riffs and catchy beats bolster the delicate and melodious lyrics: the kind of music you hope is played at the end of the evening, and is often pulled into soundtracks for big-budget indie films. This melancholic slush is remarkably easy listening, filling the gap for weekend afternoon sounds. They quote Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., and Pavement as inspiration, but their novel out-of-this-world sound is unlike any other, likened by one blog to ‘the xx played through a marshmallow’.

This particular brand of ‘fuzz’ is currently based in Harry’s basement; bare pale are currently looking to broaden their horizons by stepping out of Londontown and going a little further afield, available for gigs in the UK. Their tracks are currently available for download here, and make sure to follow them via their facebook page.

Method in the Madness – Octane & DLR

With 10 years of experience, Octane & DLR’s new album has been a long time coming.

In 2011 this genius duo from Leeds took the drum & bass world by storm with a distinctive and superior sound, the menacing ‘Red Mist’ one of the most known. They excelled immediately and concluded the year with sets at Outlook, Star Warz and even a tour inAustralia and New Zealand.

The newly released album ‘Method in the Madness’ has been hugely anticipated by drum & bass fanatics, producers and followers of most electronic music genres combined. Their incredibly high quality technical production and sample releases, as well as boundary pushing style and mixing of genres, has set them two steps ahead of everyone.

In the new album, the utter filth that is ‘Murmur’ and ‘Gravity’ meets the high standard expected of the two. Look across the album however, and you’ll see that medals need be awarded for going well beyond the call of duty. With an array of hip hop verses from the likes of Kemo, MC Fonts and Gusto, jazz fusion, scatting and vocals from Marion (did I mention live piano and though it need not be said, bass?), the Erlenmeyer and graphics on the album artwork begin to appear more than suitable.

Drum & bass/Electronic albums of this caliber are few and far between. An important release for fans of all electronic music, it needs picking up today.