Quality, melody and beauty are three words I associate with Ryan Yard’s compositional style. Previously I’ve reviewed Chasing Time (a collection of post-classical live piano quintet miniatures), M.A.C.O. (a pseudo space drama on Mars with narration) and The Nature of Solitude (more than just a Mike Oldfield homage). For 2018, Ryan is about to release the album Going Home. This is dedicated to his mother and is raising money for Pancreatic Cancer Research. £500 has already been raised with 30% of the future sales going to charity. As usual, Ryan is joined by the expressive guitarist Justin Towell (also on vocals) and Mike Oldfield alumnus Les Penning on recorder.
Check out Ryan’s website to buy his music.
Here is a track by track analysis and my first impressions:
A hypnotic opening with violin and viola solos leads to an undulating and relaxed piano arpeggio. Imagining sunshine on a peaceful beach although the stars are aligning above. Ethereal textures and epic timpani rolls allow some grandeur but this slowly dissipates. A very pleasant opening.
A bright and crisp piano waltz with percussion, glock and strings reminds me of sunny winter walks or watching ice skaters in the park. Simple and effective – nothing more is needed.
Ah, this is brilliant and lovely at the same time. An exciting vocoded intro leads into a toe tapping yet half time epic orchestral feel with long melodic lines and the upbeat positive feel as requested by Ryan’s mother as he was writing the track. A heavy kick and snare adds needed power and strength. This is segued into a piano solo coda almost a sketch but a beautiful solo moment, after the busy main track.
The Kilowatt Kidd
A warm piano ballad alternates with eighties style pulsating strings and lead/glock/piano melodies. Nice feel to this track with some great harmonic shifts later and epic synthy goodness.
Memories of Danny Elfman’s wintry soundtracks (I suppose it’s just the celesta!) and descending Purcell groundbasses gives an air of reflection with an intricate piano melody and string lines – perhaps too hard to sing along with but you know where it’s going and it leads you there gently. This is an extended 6 minute track and the later arpeggio melody is similar to Faure’s Flute Sicilienne but that is likely to be pure coincidence – unless it’s a quote!
The Sun Will Shine Again
Justin’s sensitive acoustic guitar playing accompanies Les Penning’s plaintiff recorded melody. This simple and effective opening gives hope to the future for healing and the track develops into a fuller rendition of the main themes with soaring electric guitar.
The title track is an atmospheric piano solo with voice, hypnotically calming and peaceful.
The Long Road
A pleasant lyrical melody emanates from the strings and builds, with glock and recorder, with an open feel and distant horizon. Justin’s soaring guitar solo does great justice to Ryan’s melodic writing. Epic pipe organ and synth bring in flavours of Rick Wakeman and Yes but without the overly prog-like textures. A joyous but not overstated ending brings the album to a fitting climax.
Overall, a great listening experience – like all of the previous albums – but with a brightness and epic journey to lift the spirits.