Ryan Fennis carves an entirely new space for himself with his collage-like EP ‘Detour’
Canberra’s RYAN FENNIS is carving out a space for himself that only artists like Jai Paul and Matt Martians come close to occupying. Off the back of the news that he’ll be showcasing his live show at this year’s BIGSOUND, he’s shared a new EP with us too, titled Detour.
Spanning four-tracks, the genre-bending, collage-like EP takes conventions from psych rock, electronica and jazz and throws in splashes of flamenco and bossa nova to give it an ever-evolving face. There’s never a dull moment on the record with his unconventional use of rhythm and timing shifting the way music can be perceived.
‘Doesn’t Matter’ opens the record, a lone call and response between a guitar and a synth echoing into one another as the instrumental builds. The unconventional structure makes it feels like a Strict Face track, but with a future-funk sheen. Fennis‘ vocal croons lightly atop the instrumental, his voice eventually becoming part of the backdrop, blending seamlessly throughout as both a rhythmic instrument and melodic one too.
The second track, ‘To Me’ builds euphoric synths atop clunky percussion, a virtuosic instrumental shaping fast underneath his breathy vocal. This track is about placement, the various different sounds and moods quickly settling into their own space and pace in the track. The guitar line that takes the lead throughout adds a mystical quality to the bustling track.
Track three, ‘Good Kid’ puts the focus on his sampling, a high-pitched vocal taking the lead while the chaotic breakbeat settles in underneath. It’s his Ronald Mcdonald Insanity moment, taking influence from left-of-centre psych-rock artists like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Thee Oh Sees for this one, but lending a healthy dose of electronic wonder to keep you on your toes. It’s chaotic and forward-thinking, in the best way possible.
‘What You Want’ takes on the most direct bossa nova influence, the guitar line keeping the track grounded in rhythm while a chorus of vocals drives it all forward. The balance between the human and machine-driven elements of this track make for a memorable end to the record, closing it out with the perfect representation of the various moods and sounds captured on the EP.
There isn’t an artist in the country (heck, the world even) sounding like Ryan Fennis. The Canberra artist is continuing to carve an entirely new direction for himself, taking a road not yet travelled. With his intense musical understanding and virtuosic skillset, I’m very excited to see what Fennis pulls out of his hat next.
Words by CAITLIN MEDCALF