[Review] Ryan Summers – F51.01

Often contemplative, sometimes distant, but never inaccessible, Ryan Summers has run the gamut with genres that range from Americana to a wizened sense of folk into the unexpected territory of ambient electronica. With the latter styling in mind, Summers’ F51.01 is simply as ubiquitous as the title implies, though not so far removed from previous efforts that it becomes an anomaly in Summers’ cache. F51.01 sees Summers create a space that is easy to inhabit, but ultimately more difficult to canonize.

Though F501.01 sees a departure from the likes of any Midwestern farmer’s tales, there is still a sensibility that is thoroughly Westernized, albeit one that relishes in the corners of industrial ambiance and finds solace in the ethereal toybox sensibilities akin to a minimalistic Pet Sounds. Whereas a great deal of atmospheric music chooses not to define itself by nature in the presence of a culture, absence of a culture would prove detrimental for Summers’ work – it’s as close to Americana ambient as one can land.

“Clock Works” is a mystifying yet durable track, conjuring up images of a factory-laden environment where the ghost in the machine Is quite literally present. “Music Box” presents itself as an interesting counterpart, both suburban in title and wickedly foreboding as the melody-maker itself.

F501.01 isn’t quite a commentary on antiquated or rural culture as much as the record is a reimagining of musical tropes that have been embedded at large within these cultures. Perhaps a somewhat audacious undertaking, Summers crafts yet another addition to the crossroads of soundscapes and otherwise definitive “country” music, marking a valuable release.

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