Ryan Summers Explores Insomnia With Haunting New Album
For the past two decades, Marshfield, Wisconsin-based producer Ryan Summers has been building an eclectic discography full of wide-ranging projects. In 2015 he paired up with Arizona-based musician and friend, Nate Cherrier, for a long-distance collaboration fittingly called Midwest Soul Xchange. With a sound that combined “rootsy instruments with an array of synth sounds,” the duo went on to self-release their debut LP New American Century. This album later went on to receive some critical acclaim.
Now, Ryan is ready for a temporary change of pace and departure from the norm with the release of his latest full-length album F51.01. Deciding the time was right to release some of his personal ambient music, Ryan has created a unique brand of melancholic music born as a means of coping with insomnia.
As if composed to be featured on the soundtrack of some chilling sci-fi thriller, the songs for this release are eerie, ambient soundscapes composed almost entirely with software synthesizers. By using a unique production process, Ryan added realism to these songs by playing their parts through amps and recording the resulting room noise with microphones. He performed this process of ‘re-amping’ at a former church, which is now an arts center, located near his home studio in Marshfield. Referencing this experimental sound sculpting process Ryan had this to say about his latest project: “The [church] has some really wild sound spaces! The chapel hall is amazing, but even the corridors have some cool reverbs. Sitting quietly, listening to those sounds in such spacious rooms was a truly meditative experience.”
Ryan felt that the computer synths combined with the infused realism created an “other-worldly yet hypnotic” quality – a quality those on the cusp of sleep might find useful. Throughout F51.01 the listener is taken on a bewildering journey through the mind of an insomniac. Mesmerizing production creates the feeling of drifting through a dream and floating through one’s subconscious. Listening to this dreamy album, I felt like a deep-sea diver outfitted in a scuba suit venturing to depths of Ryan’s imagination. The album’s minimalist structure is complemented perfectly by an undoubted sense of atmospheric grandeur.
This cutting edge album is certainly worth a listen. Whether it becomes your newest night time listening soundtrack or simply a way for you to clear your mind en route to work, F51.01 is the type of album that you play over and over getting something new from it every time.