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Rykard - Explorers Vol. 2

Review by Mike Stanton / @DepartmentEss

Rykard is back with the second installment of his Explorers cycle of EPs with the release of Explorers Vol.2 and like Vol.1 it is a heady trip into the deepest and warmest electronic bliss-core.

Vol.1 was rich in the dizzying atmospheres of lush and diffuse electronics, evoking a Tangerine Dream-like meditative lull. Vol.2 builds on this, furthering the artful layering of textures and densely arranged blankets of warmth.

Rykard has been creating ambient electronica from beneath the elephantine-grey skies of Lancashire for around ten years now, debuting with Arrive the Radio Beacon in 2010, which caused ripples across the globe with his blend of ambient atmospheric bliss.

Luminosity followed in 2016, further cementing his reputation for creating expansive soundscapes while evolving his sound, infusing slow-chilled trip-hop beats, dub bass and shimmering synths to showcase a cleaner chillwave sound.

2018 saw his third studio album Night Towers released, incorporating elements of lo-fi dubstep, hip hop and trip hop throughout. Night Towers also hailed a return to the shadowy hypnagogic compositions of his 2010 debut.

Throughout Explorers Vol.2 Rykard is back conjuring vistas of audio escapism through divine electronics, tumbling beats and smooth melodies. There isn’t a misstep throughout, shadowy production ensuring the soundscaping is washed with an amorphous haze.

Like much of his work, Rykard’s arrangements are windswept, evoking quickly expanding horizons, as sounds and shapes seemingly tumble into the ether only to recoil and fold back into themselves. This creates a wholly immersive experience, maintaining the meditative hold he established throughout Vol.1.

Manta Force opens and we are quickly transported into deep walls of sound and thrumming bass. Rykard’s trademark ambient trills punctuate the dense electronics that don’t so much as glide but sail on silken currents of ambient pulses.

Lynne and Katy Play Atari begins with what sounds like a dot matrix printer before quickly plunging us into cascading walls of dreamily washed synths and beats. This tumbles into Be My Galaxy’s low-fi hip-hop beats, foggy synths, and the familiar melodic swells. It’s so hard not to be moved by the sounds and shifting states of Rykard’s music and be pulled in with his rainbow-hued tractor beams.

So much of the music on Explorers Vol.2 is informed by the past as our journey continues and we are propelled further into the cosmos, washed in glittering nebulae and astral dust. This is an EP for headphones, for the listener to find their neutral space and ride the eddies of aural bliss. Rykard has created a record of sublime electronic exploration.

Explorers Vol. 2 is out February 20th on Hunya Munya Records.

Keep up with Rykard:

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