words by Angus Dawson

I was first introduced to RY X’s dulcet voice when ‘Basic Instinct’ by The Acid came on the radio whilst I was driving to work on a rainy day a couple of years ago. It floored me. I was so taken aback by the simplicity, the soul, the dynamics, it was exactly what I enjoy in an artist and in music. Naturally, I became obsessed. I tracked down everything he’d made, who he was, where he came from. My research led me to The Acid (of course), an amalgamation of British producer Adam Freeland, Calfornian producer/music wizard Steve Nalepa and Ry Cuming, an Australian singer/songwriter. From here I also found Howling, another of Ry’s projects with Berlin’s Frank Wiedemann. And finally, I found Ry’s solo work, under the name RY X. Needless to say, it was a solid day of musical discovery. All three projects were so diverse, clever, unique and just so fucking enjoyable. I was set for weeks. But what kept me coming back was the strength of the songs and what RY X’s musicality, songwriting and voice brought to the table. Fast forward to now, we finally have Dawn, Ry’s highly anticipated debut full length LP with the solo project.

As I write these words, I’m already deep into my third straight listen. And after three listens I don’t recall listening to a stronger collection of music. Bits and pieces have trickled out over time, ‘Berlin’ came out in 2013 and since became a regular on countless “Chill Sundays” or “Acoustic Afternoon” (etc) Spotify playlists. It was incredibly popular, I’ve found that so many people know that song without knowing who it belongs to, I think because it hits you so hard on first listen. ‘Shortline’ came out a few years ago. He put ‘Sweat’ out last year, initially as an unmixed demo, but everyone lost their minds, so it was quickly followed by a more polished version. He also unveiled ‘Only’ and ‘Deliverance’ prior to the album’s release, both of which are absolutely stunning, and exciting. While ‘Only’ was reminiscent of his acoustic anterior work, ‘Deliverance’ features an almost electronic musical environment that reminds me of his work with The Acid. It’s great to see an expansion of the boundaries of this solo project. From Dawn, ‘Haste’ sits on a similar spectrum with the 112bpm (approx.) four-to-the-floor feel and the use of some very tasteful electronic synths that seem to compliment the song beautifully instead of taking away from his normally relaxed, ambient beginnings. Here are my top three moments from Dawn:

3. ‘Salt’, big fat tuna sandwich.
2. The last few minutes from ‘Beacon’, Ry builds this incredible soundscape thats so immersive and enveloping. Loved it.
1. Honestly, just the album as a whole. From start to finish, the way it was intended.

There isn’t a single track that doesn’t belong or is lacking in any way. For me, I think it will go into my ‘very special album’ category. Dawn is cohesive, vibrant and an early contender for my favourite of 2016.

Rating: ★★★★★

Dawn is available now from ry-x.com

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