Back in 2012 Ryan Torres started his music career with Rex Hudson as GreenHouse. The duo released their debut later that year and quickly followed up with a sophmore effort. Most recently Torres released Ghost Memories, which is a whopping twenty-three songs. Torres makes electronic music that somewhat loosely feels reminiscent of bands like M83, Boards of Canada and Four Tet.
At twenty-three songs with very few going over the three-minute mark Ghost Memories feels like a large group of ideas rather then fleshed out songs. The songs rarely get much further than the initial vibe they started with. Yes there are breakdowns and different sounds but the dynamics and vast sonic possibilities of a band like M83 aren’t quite there.
“The Night Is On Fire” is an example of Torres conjuring a very interesting idea but not quite fleshing it out. It revolves around distorted bass, heavy hitting drums and arpeggiated synths. The song finds a groove and rides it out till the song fades away. “Sometimes A Seashell Is Just A Seashell” suffers and benefits from the same sort of thing. He introduces an intoxicating mixture of tones and textures not too far off from many synth pop bands but simply layers and rides out the groove.
The slow moving and ethereal “Split Between” fares a bit better in terms of feeling like a song with crescendos and transitions but still I was hoping for some risky, experimental elements. As the album progresses, and to his credit, the songs display his versatility. Take for instance the forward moving “Lessons For Everything” or the uniquely ‘80s sounding “Late Bloomer.”
At this point Torres isn’t quite competitive with the artists in the top echelon in this style of music such as Four Tet, Caribou and Herbert to name a few. He will not only have to be able to flesh out the songs a bit more but I think he needs to get a bit experimental and nuanced when it comes to the production and in particular the percussive elements. For example implementing different time signatures on a song would be a good start. That being said I think he does have some talent and think if he continues to be passionate about his sound those things will come naturally.
I was thinking the whole time that although a lot of these songs have trouble standing on their own they would make for great video game music. Turns out Torres already has placement in an upcoming video game. For all of you video game creators you might want to check out his music because he has a lot to chose from.
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