ep review ~ 'three songs' ~ craft work

Name: Craft Work
Genre: Trip-hop, Neo-classical
For Fans Of: Robocobra Quartet, Rob Dougan, Moby
Location: Belfast
Facebook//Twitter ~ n/a

There are times I feel some what unqualified, (naive perhaps?) in trying to analyse the sound made by Chris Ryan. His sense of spacial awareness within his music, the ever expanding distance between the light and the heavy; it's all a bit much at times. Lyrically, again, I am occasionally left some degree of self-doubt. Am I really understanding this? Is this what he means? Having got to know Ryan relatively well over the last two years, I can now confidently conclude that his answer to these thoughts would be to not overthink it ~ and so I won't. 'Three Songs' is a beautifully pieced together collection of sample-heavy tracks linked by the authors growling poetry at the microphone.

'Car Crash #1' sounds like the cinematic sequel to Robocobra Quartet's 'Bomber'. There's an underlying intensity matching it's title, percolated by Ryan's hypnotic, iron cast drum beat. It has the brooding intensity of an old war documentary, so very menacing. Ryan has his finger hovering above the self destruct button throughout. Will he press it? Well, er, no, but it's a strong start none the less and sounds better with more than one listen.

Follow up 'The Major' continues this dangerously uneasy-feeling, and we are beginning to wonder if Chris Ryan has some deep lying post-war stress disorder. Whether or not the drummer//producer had intentionally wanted to take us back to 1944 is anyone's guess ~ but it's an interesting thought.

"None of what we gained, compares to what we lost"

Regardless, the rising and falling of the string section in this song is truly beautiful, particularly around the 1:36 mark. To us, this is a journey to the edge of the human mind. Again filled with a dark foreboding, Ryan does just enough to stop himself falling off the edge.

Climaxing in fine fashion, 'Different Trains' is Ryan's take on the anthemic, again led by a remarkable string section. Percussion wise, Ryan again judges things perfectly, a trip-hop 90's vibe making it's way to the surface. There's some lyrical gems in here too, the way with which Ryan shouts them adding to their carefully orchestrated triumphant feel. Never gratuitous, the passion with which 'Different Trains' is sung is as if he's screaming in the face of the universe ~ as if he's daring time to prove him wrong.

"I still feel the same as I did at thirteen, and I'm going to feel this way until I die"

Taylor Johnson

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