Ryan Hemsworth ‘RYANPACK Vol.2’
Canadian dude, all-round legend, and our pick for this years Listen Out festival, RYAN HEMSWORTH is back with volume 2 of the Ryanpack project. Having released volume 1, a hip hop heavy selection of cuts, here we get an insight into what seem to be Hemsworth’s guiltiest audio pleasures – think nineties punk-pop, early noughties girl power anthems and soulful RnB from everyone’s favourite Torontonian rapper.
The genre-bending producer shows off his mixing and mash up talents on this ten-track collection. It’s reminiscent in style of those god awful catchy mash ups that are forever being sung by the Pitch Perfect divas, except Hemsworth’s are undoubtedly much cooler. From hip hop to soul to RnB to weird alien remixes to future garage to classic house to jersey club to 2 step to alternative indie to grime to reggae to calypso – it doesn’t matter where he’s drawing his inspiration from, each track here is a well-crafted and unique capsule of sonic experimentation. Here’s a quick run through of the lot:
Track 1 is actually a spoken cameo introduction courtesy of fellow Canadian oddball, Nardwuar. If you’ve got his hipster stamp of approval, you’ve got something right.
The music gets going with an A$AP crew remix of Sicko Mobb (the youthful duo that is Lil Trav and Lil Ceno) and their track ‘Maserati’. Hemsworth’s reggae and dub fused ‘Yams Version’ sets the tone for a pumped up set of feel good tracks.
‘Feelin This’ (Hemsworth Sees Aliens Too Remix) is a cute indie record with a trappy-dub beat that shakes in and out. ‘Cute’ and ‘indie’ because it uses samples taken from the original punk-popsters, Blink 182 – that drum solo intro and jolting indie guitar could come from no one else.
It’s a similar story on the next track, which uses an early noughties alt-rock sample from one of Pop-Punk’s favourites, Tiger’s Jaw, and their song ‘Planes vs Tank vs Submarine’. It’s emotional and nostalgic, a little like track number 5…
Drake pops up at the fulcrum of the ten-track pack, swivelling us back into more modern territory with hip hop beats and soulful lyrics. He’s 2015’s answer to the emo/indie rock of the previous two tracks and poor Drake has too many emotions, he just can’t even. Hemsworth’s ‘Ping Pong With My Woes’ remixes ‘Know Yourself’, taken from this year’s album, and if you ever wondered whether Toronto’s son likes a bit of bat and ball, well, here’s your answer. Hemsworth perhaps seems to be very gently parodying Drake’s original, with a cheeky focus on ping pong samples.
The second half of the volume starts with one of Hemsworth’s own tracks, a remaster of ‘Snow in Newark’ from his 2014 album, Alone For The First Time. It’s of the same downbeat and melancholic vibe as Drake’s soulful musings, and the stand out lyric of Dawn Golden’s lamentation on a relationship break up, “get a cup of coffee, get the fuck outta my head”, foreshadows the lairy remix for track number seven… The Hemsworth ‘Sorry Lol’ version of Ta–Tu’s ‘All The Things She Said (Running Through My Head)’.
You may have thought you’d only ever hear this song again in dodgy over 40s night clubs or in awful karaoke bars, but here Hemsworth turns the track into another modernised trappy and synthy mash-up that is worryingly listenable.
Things slow down a notch again with Torey Lanez’ ‘Know Wassup’, providing a down tempo and reflective moment. Piano, weeping violins and soulful reggae tinged vocals lead straight into a version of Qrion’s ‘Sink’; another beautifully calming number, a spacey reworking of the Japanese producer’s track which is as soothing as anything by Rhye or AlunaGeorge. These two tracks show the depth and variety of Hemsworth’s work and his acute ear and understanding for music production.
The closing number is unexpected. It’s a remix of Sum 41’s ‘In Too Deep’ and is perhaps one of the best Sum 41 remixes you’re gonna get…probably because no one else has ever thought to seriously remix Sum 41.
But this is what’s so great about Hemsworth – he’s got his finger on the pulse in terms of shaping current music trends, but is equally well aware of the cheesy classics that informed every millennials teenage experiences. Sum 41 provided the soundtrack to pre-teen parties and bunking off school, Ta-Tu were the epitome of teen angst in 2002 and Drake is generation Y’s darling.
Just two weeks ago Hemsworth released his ‘Just Rap’ mix, and now with the RYANPACK Vol.2 out online, he’s got plenty of new material to debut on his current North American headline tour.
Words by Katie Rowley