Artist/Writer, ZYNC Signing
Ry X has today shard the arresting new visual for his new single “Foreign Tides”, taken from his new album Unfun to be released February 15th via Infectious Music/BMG.
Shot within the 2,000-year-old Roman ruins of Baalbek in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley – as well as the Bataara Gorge and the coast of Beirut – the official video for “Foreign Tides” is a sweeping journey through an often misunderstood and rarely seen landscape.
The bulk of the video is set on the steps of the ancient Temple of Bacchus and represents the first time a Western musician has been granted official access to this UNESCO World Heritage site (and one of the best preserved remaining Roman ruins on earth), 35km from the Syrian border.
Speaking of the video, Ry says that “[he] was immersed in the beauty of the land there. Not just the land of but the people too, and the culture. [He] wanted to allow these essences into the work and swim in all of it.”
This combination of the track’s fragile intimacy and the videos sprawling (and stunning) maximalism is, however, nothing new to RY X: after all, utilizing the power of quietly intense, passionate music to pull audiences in to an intimate space is something that this Australia-born, LA-based singer excels at.
Ry honors and expands on his vision with his second album. Between its rippling beats, mellifluous guitars, poised piano and questing vocals, Unfurl does what its title suggests: develops as if organically from Ry’s previous work, blossoming in delicate new directions while holding firm to its roots. “I think my mission statement was simply to remain vulnerable and to capture that within this album,” says Ry. “The inspirations change each time, and I always want to allow that process to be free, to draw on new ideas and sounds and instrumentation. But what feels consistently important to me is keeping a sense of rawness and honesty in the work.”
That balance of integrity and outreach shows itself instantly on “Body (Ambient)“, an overture where plush strings and a pin-drop piano add new ripples to Ry’s evocations of space and feeling . Burial-ish beats and future tender electronics herald further developments on lead track “Untold’, Ry’s tremulous vocal holding the fragile focus amid a detailed bedding of sounds. Ethereal vocals and gently moving electronics ring true as “Bound” gently opens the doors to new arenas between alt-folk and alt-R&B. “Body Sun”, meanwhile, layers and builds its vocal intimacies, with deep strings and clusters of percussion laid with craft and care, Ry’s control of its mixed elements so complete it seems subliminal. Finally, “Fumbling Prayer” finds Ry at his most beseeching and beautiful, reaching out for answers over a hymnal organ.
That questing spirit goes way back to Ry’s roots. Raised in the coastal community of Angourie, off Australia’s east coast, he left home at 17 with a surfboard and a grunge obsession. Travelling to Costa Rica, Indonesia, Stockholm, London, Berlin and Hollywood, he explored a passion for many forms of music, from Indian Ragas and African Jazz to the swells and tensions of techno and more experimental electronic music, which led to two collaborations: one with Frank Wiedemann of German electronic duo Âme under the name Howling, the other with UK DJ Adam Freeland and California producer Steve Nalepa as The Acid. Just this year, The Acid performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslol scoring a screening of an anti-nuclear multimedia project titled the bomb.
During his travels, Ry began writing fragile, acoustic and intimate song, recording to tape to preserve their raw power. The Berlin EP brought him to mainstream radio and paved the way for Dawn, which was written and recorded in close-to-nature isolation and toured to rapturous receptions. “Berlin” has since notched up some 78 million streams; worldwide, his overall stream count has reached an impressive 120 million. Along the way, Ry’s stealth rise saw Rihanna inviting him to remix doo-wop beauty “Love on the Brain”; in return, Ry gifted RiRi a deep, stripped back re-interpretation.
Whatever weight of expectation this collaboration with R&B royalty entailed, Ry also now had his own expectant audience for his second album Unfurl.