Rival Consoles is an electronic musician from England who creates driving, experimental dance tracks primarily with analog equipment. Over the course of his career, his music has ranged from the challenging IDM of his early EPs to more overtly club-oriented electro-house releases like 2011′s Kid Velo. His output has gradually become more conceptual, with works such as 2015′s Howl consisting of intricate compositions focusing on a restricted amount of sounds, and 2021′s Overflow focusing on technology and social media.
Born Ryan Lee West on November 10, 1985, in Leicester, England, he made his Erased Tapes Records debut in 2007 as Aparatec with the glitchy, acid-tinged Vemeer EP. Later in 2007, he premiered his Rival Consoles moniker with the Decadent EP, which combined galloping breakbeats with increasingly complex and dramatic synthesizer melodies and arrangements. Continuing his harder-edged IDM sound, the 7″ EP Helvetica was released in 2009. During the same year, he also released two more dancefloor-oriented recordings: 65/Milo, a split EP with Kiasmos; and his full-length album debut, IO, which garnered substantial acclaim. Rival Consoles provided remixes for a variety of his Erased Tapes labelmates, including Nico Muhly, Codes in the Clouds, and Canon Blue.
His second full-length, Kid Velo, arrived in 2011, finding West continuing to hone his bright electro-house sound, which was increasingly resembling Ed Banger Records artists such as Justice. With more of a minimal, experimental feel than his full-lengths, the Odyssey EP was released in 2013. The following year’s Sonne EP continued in this direction, and featured West’s acoustic guitar playing and drumming. Erased Tapes compiled the two vinyl EPs onto a CD release in 2015, as West toured with Clark and Nosaj Thing and worked on his third full-length. Titled Howl, the album surfaced in October of 2015, and found West constructing inventive tracks from just a few layers of his own instrument playing. Following the breakup of a 13-year relationship, West released the mini-album Night Melody in August of 2016. Persona, titled after the Ingmar Bergman film, followed in 2018. While containing a few dance tracks, the album focused more on ambient, modern classical, and shoegaze influences. Articulation, based on a series of graphic scores drawn by West, was released in 2020. Originally composed for a dance production by choreographer Alexander Whitley, West’s 2021 full-length Overflow is critical of social media, advertising, marketing, and data exploitation. ~ Jason Birchmeier & Paul Simpson