I had a nice chat with Ry X, one-third of The Acid the other day, and it was enough to make anyone harbouring creative aspirations quiver in their boots. The Australian-born singer-songwriter and producer is in no less than three bands, directs his own videos and spends most of his year bouncing around the world in search of what seems like an endless summer. If he wasn’t such a chill guy, and he didn’t write such engaging tunes, I would probably hate him. I think I still do anyway, but then I’ve always been a jealous sort of dude. Ry, who has been a semi-big name in Australia for a while now but has since decamped to Berlin where his profile has grown immensely, is into collaboration. He calls up his mates to make incredible music videos, he meets guys at parties and starts bands with them and generally manages to be fluid while maintaining his voice through the whole thing. He’s a good person to learn from. And The Acid might be band that gets him to TED Talks level.
From pure outsider perspective, the writing these three do situates them somewhere between two other very popular production trios of the last five years; Miike Snow and The xx. From the former comes the soaring melodies and angst of Ry’s voice, which he tells me was informed by his early love of grunge as a teenager, and the latter the sparse, but expansive instrumentation. ‘Basic Instinct’ was the first single that came out last year, and I completely missed it. It is, however, one of the best representations (outside of ‘Creeper’ and ‘Fame’) of the group’s aesthetic. It’s propelled forward by guitar, which seems to cast itself out alone before the other production elements start appearing through the haze. And there are a lot of them; from synths to glockenspiels, whispers, strings, harmonies and electronic drums. Ry’s far away from the mic and then he’s right up on it. The entire piece crests and crashes off only a few select riffs, but it makes a hell of an impact.
Ultimately, though, this is just a goddamn pretty song. Ry is instinctually aware of this, and makes certain attempts to sabotage it like Leo DiCaprio has his character in every movie since Titanic. The most obvious moment comes at around the two minute mark, where the distortion rips in and suddenly we’re back in the ’90s for fifteen crazy seconds before dropping into an even more beautiful repeat of the A section. The two other members of this band are both world-renowned music tech whizzes, and hearing the quality of the sound here, it isn’t difficult to see why. The whole album is like this, and it’s a great listen from start to finish. Check it out.
The Acid – ‘Basic Instinct’