“Six Preludes” by Ryan Teague
A haunting collection of modern classical works from British composer Ryan Teague.
Residing in Cambridge, UK Ryan Teague has grown up with classical music. Learning classical guitar from an early age, and also becoming proficient in clarinet and a number of other obscure instruments, it was not long before Teague tried his hand at composing. However the trappings of standard classical composition were not of any interest to him, and he had already discovered the wide world of electronic music and experimental rock. Taking hold of Arvo Part with one hand and Biosphere with the other, Teague has gone on to create a record that crosses boundaries without ever resorting to genre stereotypes. He has managed to forge a record which sounds both timeless and startlingly fresh.
The opening track ‘Prelude I’ begins with strings enswathed in digital noise and drifting bells, before a haunting choral vocal is introduced into the mix. Bringing together the operatic with electronics in such a way has almost never been achieved successfully, yet Teague manages effortly to blend the genres and emerge with something beautiful and uncluttered. It at once becomes cinematic but never resorts to being over sentimental. As the strings crash and percussion drives our emotion, never once does it feel tiresome and it always keeps the imagination active. On the final track ‘Prelude VI’ it is hard not to bring to mind the finer works of Cliff Martinez as bass bubbles underneath an echoing piano and electronic distortions: a stunning widescreen finale to this captivating story.
It would be right to compare ‘Six Preludes’ to the work of Steve Reich or John Adams, as there are clearly similarities, yet Teague takes his sound to another place entirely. Sitting more closely with the more contemporary ECM catalogue and with artists such as Arve Henriksen or Marsen Jules, this is a marriage of classical and electronic rather than a mere experiment. Ryan Teague has begun a deep excavation into an exciting sound, and it is our hope that he continues to do so.