Based in Bristol, Ryan Teague is a unique talent.
Each piece from the composer feels remarkably assured, matching classical flourishes to minimal electronics.
Working with labels such as Village Green, Sonic Pieces and Type Records, the producer released debut album 'Block Boundaries' earlier this year (purchase LINK).
A subtle gem which seems to reveal hidden depths on subsequent listens, highlight 'Last Known Position' has been given the remix treatment by Errors.
The returning Glaswegians seem to heighten the tones, adding renewed definition to Teague's palette. An engrossing re-work, you can check it out below - oh, and check out a quickfire Q&A with Ryan Teague after the jump.
You're based in Bristol, to what extent is your music a product of your environment?
Actually, Bristol was a big inspiration for the new album. Whereas my last couple of albums were quite pastoral and connected to Cambridge where I was living at the time, 'Block Boundaries' is very much my 'urban' album. There's a stronger rhythmic and electronic thread running throughout and this was definitely a conscious decision to let the influence of the city in. Bristol is a great city musically, culturally and geographically - I think it's had a big influence.
Do you have any formal musical training? Do you think this process helps / hinders composers?
I studied music privately from a fairly young age but never underwent the formal route - I actually studied Fine Art academically instead. For me it's more about the ideas than the technique, because the requirements can change from project to project. Whilst I'm a great believer in the strength of technical ability, I wouldn't want this to determine the outcome. I guess if you're a virtuoso on a particular instrument you're somewhat confined by that palette. I'm more a jack of all trades!
You've worked for film and television, what projects did you undertake? How is working on a score different than a full album project?
Working to picture is quite different to album projects for lots of reasons - the biggest difference is mostly working to brief. Whilst you only have to please yourself and maybe the label on album projects, working to picture involves layers of briefing, approval, creative compromise and tight deadlines. But actually if you're careful not to take that process personally that makes the job interesting and can really challenge you creatively, but you also have to know where the limits are.
There's a visual quality to your work, do you think in visual terms when composing?
I'm starting to realise I probably do think visually to an extent. I certainly tend to develop a very clear picture of what I want from a piece before I even get near an instrument - almost like a sculpture. Once I know what I want to do conceptually I start to focus on the instrumentation that will best convey the idea which then helps guide the more musical development. I suppose then I have parameters to work within, otherwise the possibilities are just too vast. I rarely sit at the piano banging out chords hoping for inspiration to strike, put it that way.
You spent time in Indonesian studying Gamelan music, do you think this left a lasting impression?
I spent nine months living in Java studying Gamelan so it certainly has a lasting impression. I first came to Gamelan before this because it had qualities which relate very closely to my own practice, i.e. repetition, rhythm, counterpoint, texture etc. But it's not about forcing anything in either direction, it's just something that forms part of what I do as a musician. Above all playing Gamelan on a regular basis is something that keeps me in touch with being a performer playing in a group setting - it's an incredibly complex art form so it's good exercise.
Errors... are you a fan? How did this come about and are you pleased with the results?
I really like what Errors did with the remix for 'Last Known Position'. Actually it was Village Geen's idea to get them on board and what they did compliments the other remixes (Plaid and The Field) for the single perfectly. It makes for a really strong collection of tracks which take the whole theme on it's own little journey.