RYMO – Kinetic

Rymo 2021


American skin-kicker starts marching to the sound of his drums – to keep moving and leading the others to delightful surprises.

After parading his talents as singer and drummer in SLIGHTLY STOOPID for two decades and getting involved in other San Diegan ensembles such as B-SIDE PLAYERS for years, Ryan Moran has finally decided to strike out on his own – with a little help from a few friends who flesh out Rymo’s melodies and rhythms in a multitudinous details without ever shifting focus away from the main man. “Kinetic” is not a showcase for percussion anyway, except on the exciting “Changó” and “Bembé Rumba” where various surfaces are being hit by three masters of tuneful beat; it’s the album where grooves paint pictures which tell a story, rendering each piece easy to relate to even for a non-musician. Otherwise, what’s the point of being an entertainer this American artist’s been all his life?

Not that Moran doesn’t play around certain structures here, numbers like “Palindrome” or opener “Symmetry 7” offering what their titles suggest – only on the core level, though, as Farzam Salami’s Eastern patterns pepper the very short latter and Tom Griesgraber’s sitar licks glide over the bass-blown glimmer of the former, while the record’s reggae-tinged title track and “Skooby Snax” find guitars ride a sparkling Western wave which Ryan’s driving to rapture. And once cinematic atmosphere has descended on the album, “Spy Theme” deepens this panorama with slabs of cosmic brass and Tony Levin’s delicate cello and Chapman Stick, and the brisk new-age of “Nebula” bares the artist’s soft underbelly, before the drone-drenched “Influx” unfolds a prog perspective for the listener to marvel at.

But if the brief “Cubism” wades too comfortably in Caribbean waters, flute and Paul Wolstencroft’s electric piano wrap “Hearin’ Everywhere” in a folk balladry, shaping its vibe as a cross between English pastorale and Hawaiian surf, and “Dream Flight” has a soft, raga-kissed texture to its slow, adventurous soaring. This ascend is far from an album by your regular drummer, yet Rymo doesn’t pretend to be one: always in motion, he’s finally pinpointed his vertiginous spin.


July 28, 2021

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