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Six Preludes

Ryan Teague
Six Preludes

As with many young electronic musicians his age, Ryan Teague was raised on a steady diet of classical music and training, but at some point found it too limiting and broke free. Equally inspired by everyone from Arvo Pärt to Biosphere, he creates music that takes the sounds that one might associate with classical music (clarinet, strings, piano, etc) and swaths them in a bevy of electronic effects, calling to mind some of the work by artists such as Arve Henriksen and Marsen Jules (who just released the excellent Herbstlaub).

Despite having similar reference points, the tracks on Six Preludes are all fairly unique in the paths they take. The opener of "Prelude I" blends strings, filtered bells, some fluttering washes of electronics, and a ghostly female chorus to nice effect, while "Prelude II" focuses in even more on flourishes of strings, while digital remnants and ghosts of the melodies create haunting whisps that seem to tug at the track from different directions.

"Prelude III" progresses with a repetitive percussive loop while filtered string loops swoop in and out in a way that recalls the phasing work of Steve Reich, even though the track takes a completely different direction as it moves forward, blending in quiet keyboard chords and glitchy blurps of noise as it sputters to a close. "Prelude V" mixes strings and clarinet together again in subtle ways, but despite the nice sonic pairing, the track lacks any real focus or development, instead content to let the buoyant tones slide around one another as both are touched with electronics.

Like Jules, Teague never really raises his tracks above a certain pace, and while the album is heavy on texture, it doesn't quite sustain itself on atmosphere alone. With six tracks that run just over a half-hour in length, it's by no means a long release, but it tends to lend itself to fading into the background at points. That said, the album closer of "Prelude VI" is one of the stronger tracks on the release, mixing deep low-end pings with swirls of filtered melodies in a way that recalls the more intense ambient work of Brian Eno (think "Force Marker"). As a whole, the release shows some serious promise from another young artist who has a foot in both worlds.

Rating: 6.75