Review: Ryan Yard album

Screenshot 2018-12-01 at 10.11.24 AMI believe Ryan Yard is a musician who, like me, immerses himself in a style (or soundworld) and his music feeds his emotional and creative needs until the next time when he can inherit the next style. I met Ryan at the Tubular Bells 45th Anniversary convention in Newbury in June 2018 but have been enjoying his music for about 3 years – with classical string and piano writing (The Nature of Solitude), his M.A.C.O. concept album and the minimalist and Oldfield inspired recent albums. Ryan doesn’t plagiarise but draws deep into the styles and makes you remember the feeling of listening to those favourite tracks of the 1970s or 1980s.

Following the release of his December 2018 single of extracts, the full album is out soon and it’s exquisite and so listenable – and beautifully designed too!

Ryan commented that The Boy Inside The Machine, “originally titled Kaleidoscope, is a colourful and exciting new album full of twists and turns and features two long tracks drawing upon symphonic and electronic progressive rock.”

The Boy Inside The Machine Part One (17:55)

Part 1A head nodding and toe tapping track with simple and minimalist piano chords, proggy guitar ideas and Reich-like vibraphone really gets the groove going. Ryan’s great use of technology doesn’t get in the way or show off as a nice bit of filtering just colours the sound perfectly before getting back to the main sections. I love the grandeur of the organs contrasting with the strings and vibes with such variety. Hints of prog and 1970s McCartney and Oldfield drift through my memory but it’s an holistic whole of Ryan’s distinctive voice.

The Boy Inside The Machine Part Two (16:39)

Part 2“Dazzling lights and colours” – spinning and layering, this track is hypnotic yet punchy with great unison synth and solo guitar lines (featuring Ryan’s guitar partner in crime Justin Towell). A great use of rising harmonies and inner parts keeps this track moving forward. Medieval yet modern!

The Boy Inside The Machine Part Three (3:34)

Part 3Continuing the piano and vibraphone vibe, a Thomas Dolby or Trevor Horn-esque track includes vocoder and a great Ringo Starr heavy beat. Combine that with prog lead synth lines and epic pipe organ and you’ve got one heck of a track that takes me straight back to the 1970s/1980s – full of The Buggles and Dave Grusin. Does Rick Wakeman make a cameo at the end?! I haven’t listened to this for a while but I was singing along straightaway!

The Boy Inside The Machine Part Four (5:10)

Part 4Unreleased until now, the finale is ominous and melancholy to start but alternates with a lovely piano and violin ballad version of Part 3.

The Boy Inside The Christmas Tree (Single Bonus Track) (5:18)

Composed for this single release, we’re getting in the Christmas spirit with lush Eb major piano chords, choir and organ with undulating synths and pleasant glockenspiel melodies. A welcome return to guitar collaborator Justin Towell on electric and acoustic guitars. Great track!

Find Ryan on Bandcamp and follow him on the Socials to purchase CDs or downloads too! Buy the single version here!

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