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"Music is one of the most free forms of art. It's a way of expressing yourself and communicating with people without having to say anything." - Ryan Davis
Ryan Davis says his new album 'Through The Mirror Glass' has existed in idea-form for a very long time – most of his life, in fact. The album is inspired by the movies he grew up watching with soundtracks by James Horner, Thomas Newman and Jóhann Jóhannsson, and the tropes and rhythms of electronic music. Davis has wanted to connect the two ever since he started producing, so this album is his first full-length foray into cinematic electronic music.
Most of the 12 tracks on this low-tempo project are peppered with field recordings. Davis took his field recorder out on hikes in Japan, America, China, Austria and in the forests near his hometown in Germany. "I hope the album helps people reflect and rest for a moment," Davis says. "I think nature is one of the places people can go to connect and breathe." Davis knows this because he's spent most of his life in cities. He was born in Magdeburg, a small, green city in Germany's east that was part of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR).
In 2001 Davis' bought a pair of turntables and started DJing at local bars. His first releases were unnamed white label tracks mainly produced on his primitive desktop computer. He couldn't afford decent speakers so he'd shuttle back and forth to clubs in Magdeburg to play the track, then drive home to make edits. In 2007 he co-founded his own vinyl label Maripoza, which means butterfly in Spanish, and launched his digital labels Klangwelt and Back Home a few years later.
In 2006 he released his first solo EP, which sold close to 1500 copies on vinyl. He released dozens of tracks throughout the late 2000s and became a pioneer of the neo-trance movement. But he always maintained an interest in classical, cinematic and downtempo composition despite his dance-floor ready releases. So his debut album 'Particles of Bliss' on Traum Schallplatten in 2012, which married low-tempo and ambient tracks with up-beat, danceable productions, revealed the full spectrum of his musical interest.
Davis teamed up with Anjunadeep for the first time in 2012 with a remix of Andrew Bayer's catalogue classic 'Gaff's Eulogy'. This led to a series of EPs showcasing the melodic, downtempo side to his artistry. He'd long wanted to create a full-length project for Anjuna, so when Above & Beyond launched Reflections in 2022, Davis knew he'd found the perfect home for his next album.
"With electronic music I have access to a never-ending palette of sounds. This album has been inside me for ages, but computers just weren't good enough. I didn't know how to arrange notes to create an orchestra or to record a violin, but now Spitfire Audio has built these incredible samples. I have BBC One's orchestra at my fingertips."
And he makes full use of it on the first single 'Altitudes'. "With 'Altitudes' I programmed different rhythmic patterns to create these moving electronic dots and connect them with the liveliness of the piano and orchestra. I used an electronic kick drum layered with a drum used in classical arrangements to connect old and new, and that's really the essence of the album - it merges my musical past and links it with the future."
Ultimately, Ryan Davis hopes 'Through The Mirror Glass' will act as a sonic space to reflect and hold fragile memories. The mirror glass is a way to look at yourself, and simultaneously look behind you, at what's brought you to this point.
'Through The Mirror Glass' is out 5th December on Reflections.
- 1 When At Night 3:10 Buy
- 2 Waialeale 3:34 Buy
- 3 Altitudes 3:50 Buy
- 4 Anticipation 3:05 Buy
- 5 Remote 2:30 Buy
- 6 Daffodils 3:39 Buy
- 7 Okawa 2:24 Buy
- 8 Mekong 4:02 Buy
- 9 Farallones 3:57 Buy
- 10 Atlas 5:05 Buy
- 11 Solstice 2:40 Buy
- 12 Anshin 安心 2:51 Buy