Vin Ryan - 'Childhood Dream'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Vin Ryan, an LA-based pop and electronic artist who has recently released two EP’s, one in each of the genres he occupies. ‘BLUE,’ his new collection of electronic music, is accented rather intriguingly by ‘WHITE,’ an excursion through his musings as a pop singer songwriter. Both records are available now on major digital music platforms, but let’s spend some time digging into ‘Childhood Dream,’ a single off ‘BLUE,’ to see if the full EP is worth including in one’s collection of indie music.

Ryan has previously described ‘Childhood Dream’ as having a “James Blake kind of aesthetic,” which is actually a fairly apt parallel to make. The song is doused in reverb and soul influence with Ryan softly crooning, sometimes entering delicate falsettos, in very melancholy fashion. Even though Ryan has segmented his “electronic” music off into ‘BLUE,’ ‘Childhood Dream’ still has hints of pop influence scattered throughout. Ryan’s suave vocal performance is emotive and compelling, especially considering his impressive range as he effortlessly maneuvers through various octaves.

The most dynamic and noteworthy aspects of ‘BLUE,’ however, are rooted in its production. While the sparse lyricism and smooth vocals are tactfully executed, they wouldn’t stand nearly as tall without such an excellent composition backing them. ‘Childhood Dream’ is lathered in waterfalls of ethereal, stunning synthesizers. They’re never overbearing, but rather, entirely complementary of Ryan’s presence in the center of the sound. Every element of the song embraces brevity, which makes it more poignant, one might argue. Even the beat is simplistic, but wonderfully executed in a very soul-esque style.

‘Childhood Dream’ is indicative of ‘BLUE’ being an electronic album worth picking up for fans of both pop and contemporary soul music. Ryan has nicely etched out a place for himself in the middle of all three genres, and as such, his music isn’t quite like anything you’d hear in any of them right now. I’d love to see some further depth to his lyricism, but that’s something that will continue to grow as he does. Frankly, ‘Childhood Dream’ may even be better in its lyrical ambiguity. It’s mysterious, smooth listening that is well worth your time. Check out Vin Ryan below.