Ryan Teague Ryan TeagueField Drawings
British composer Ryan Teague, who started his career in 2005 on Type Records, is another illustrious player from the European modern classical scene looking for love outside the margins of the regular circuit. His songs have been used in Powerade and Subaru ad campaigns, BBC documentaries, and even some powerful recruiting campaigns for the Royal Marines, and if you take a good look at those collaborations (available on his website), you'll find it's almost as if his scores were born for the job. His compositions are evocative, epic and cinematically mysterious, and possess a clear and urgent quality that removes him from the most experimental and isolationist branch and makes him easier to digest for the less experimented listener.
In fact, “Field Drawings”, his fourth album, and his first for Village Green, is, by far, his most accessible and exportable recording, more than ever apt for the agendas of publicists, film directors and TV producers. This is mostly thanks to the conscious and obvious adoption of a minimalist sound with an irresistible melodic projection. The starting point is Steve Reich's “Music For 18 Musicians”, especially the idea of rhythmic progression through the repetition of notes, but with a quite sharper notion of pop, as if that old idea of the sonic metronome were updated with the intention of becoming more intelligible and accessible to the public.
“Shadow Play”, “Prime Movers”, “Cell Cycle”, “Neo” and “Cascades” revolve around that premise, and, although you might feel sometimes that he's varying on the same idea, Teague eludes repetition and monotony using some interesting and functional resources. On “Cadastral Survey”, for instance, he built a repetitive construction, but he changes the piano and keyboard for string arrangements, giving the composition a different feel; on “Tetramery”, the most Nymanesque piece on the album, he integrates piano and strings in one formula, cohesive and frantic; and on “Anesidora” and “Tableau III” he recovers the ambient feel from his two first albums. All in all, you might think there's nothing new on “Field Drawings”, that it's just another title on a long list of minimalist piano recordings, but beware: its predictable gracefulness and rhythmical precision comes with the important bonus of its attractive and exemplifying pop pulse.