If someone has a really big blow-out party (not the class-geek’s-birthday party), one thing is sure to happen: a special magic or chemistry ends up surrounding everything and forming what I might call “micro-verses.” These are groups of classmates who weren’t used to talking to each other, with ideas and ways of thinking that seemed (gasp!) so incompatible from a distance; now, thanks to a crowded party, they come to seem like they have been best friends since nursery school. This is how Ryan Olson, producer and person directly responsible for Relayted, got more than twenty musicians together to create the super-group Gayngs, a project that seems, at first glance, to say a lot about the ability of its members to socialise (a good vibe is not only necessary, but also required in these events, where “mega-egos” all live together in small spaces).
The present hodgepodge is inspired by the 10cc song “I’m Not In Love;” the group is from Manchester, and the main question that comes to my mind is where they got the pink paint to sing that single, considering that they live in Manchester, a city associated (both here and there) with bricks upon bricks under chimneys and skies of dirty wool. In any case, it is a good song, having added to this auditory anaesthetic a smooth electronic base that mixes 70’s soft-rock with soul, jazz, and a few touches of affected dubstep. As we’ll see, the result is an environmental mattress that changes colours and styles, but which never entirely leaves behind a supposedly lounge script. And you have to be careful with that, because this Relayted can pass both for piped music for “in” alternative clothing shops, and for an album that you peel like an onion, as you listen to it again and again, discovering new fragrances and flavours.
In the beginning, we could summarise, there were only Ryan Olson and two-thirds of Solid Gold (Zack Coulter and Adam Hurlburt). Later Michael Lewis ( Andrew Bird saxophonist), Ivan Howard ( The Rosebuds), and Mike Noyce and Justin Vernon ( Bon Iver) joined the party (among many others). As we were saying, dissolving the personality of each guest in the liquid solution, the result is the bubbles and layered voices of the introduction “The Gaudy Side Of Town,” the ultra-slowed-down James Bond soundtrack (and with the sounds of shots included, although without esque guitar) that is “The Walker,” the slow, strong drum, carnal and pulsing, of “Cry,” or the song-making of the dark, dense electronic of “False Bottom” that we see immediately afterwards in “The Beatdown.” We can even hear sounds far-off in time and memory like the sound FX from the Kid Chameleon and NBA Jam games in the decoloured dubstep of “Crystal Rope.”
The key is losing yourself. In every long timing (some songs last more than seven minutes), the hand of thinking, ever-present producer Olson plays with sudden drops in tension, solo notes of piano/trumpet/guitars, electric swaying, and the feeling of having free will to organise the orchestra (this is particularly noticeable in “No Sweat”). Only the single “Faded High” invites us to lift our feet off the ground in a pure urban soul pop that is lost amidst the rest of the examples of visual and auditory preciousness ( “Spanish Platinum”), which might sound like creative mortar to some, and like short placed moments of the day/night to be enjoyed on the nearest sofa to others. Jordi Guinart