Danny Ruane is a solo artist who works experimentally between the genres of techno and ambient styles of music.
He latest piece of work, Arrhythmia, is an impressive collection of these influences that work to, in his own words, find a ‘biological’ element to his tracks. This is evident firstly from the title of the album Arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a medical term that means an irregular heartbeat in a patient. This therefore, not only highlights the way in which Ruane is committed to finding the biological element in his music but also shows the experimental aspect to his work through the idea of the irregular beating of the heart before the music has even begun.
The album opens with a track entitled ‘Boy’ which can be seen as a short introduction into the rest of the album. It is ambient and does not have any discernible percussive beat. The rhythms appearing through the use of percussion-like sounds, such as what seems to be a saw that filters in underneath, providing the underwater style sounds of the track. In the next track ‘Antigan’ the percussive sounds are more conventional and the techno influences are heard more noticeably. The synth sounds are also techno influenced and flow well with the use of standard acoustic drums. The beat, however, is still hard to pin down in its entirety flowing in and out of the forefront of the track until the end in a less ordinary style than can be fully explained by one genre.
The third song of the album is an altogether heavier affair. A thunderous yet subtle drum beat works well with the heavy synth that Ruane has laid down. The beat then drops out to an ambient build-up of sound that culminates in a sudden drop and a return to the heavy synth. ‘Switch’ is the first truly stand out songs on the album. The song ‘Positronic’ marks a return back to the ambient spectrum of Ruane’s work with a light synth opening that releases the tension built by the heavier beats from the previous tracks. The echoing sounds in the music give an impression of great space and openness that allows the listener to interpret each sound that filters into their ears with ease. ‘Virulence’ again sees the return of more conventional styles of percussion, though in this instance Ruane bridges the gap between ambient music and techno with greater confidence and it is a better mix of the two genres than earlier in the album.
‘Refract’ continues in the same vein but is much more experimental with less expansive sounds being used. It sounds much rawer than ‘Virulence’ and so has a sharper edge to it when listened to. Both, however, are great tracks in their own right and both whilst very different straddle both the ambient and techno genres. Another truly exceptional track on the album is ‘Myre’. Starting with an interesting on/off beat that draws the listener into the song ‘Myre’ is probably the track with the music that most sounds like conventional instruments with a sound like an echoing guitar that perfectly matches the beat the song weaves in and out of itself. Occasionally everything stops as the song seems to pause for breath before a new element is added to the layers that Ruane builds up until it all drops away back to the original beat.
Overall as a first full length album this is very strong. It is both interesting and thoughtful without becoming insurmountable to the listener. It is both listenable and enjoyable without becoming boring or predictable and is a very good piece of music as a whole with some great individual songs.
This article was written by Sam Brunt