By: Laura Beaulne-Stuebing –
Ryan Hemsworth is literally all over the map as a non-stop touring musician, and in that same breath,: his music is not easily pinned down either and have largely been experiments in fuzzy basement hip-hop, producing underground rap, and championing his own sound.
Being an artist in the EDM world is exhausting – a dizzying life of all-nighters trucking from town-to-town–experiences that will wear on the music’s creator. Hemsworth has himself admitted that his newest release, Alone for the First Time, is a personal reaction to the electronic and pop music scenes in which he inhabits.
The LP is a spry seven songs that angle a more sensitive, introspective nostalgia unlike its October 2013 predecessor, the Juno-winning Guilt Trips. Hemsworth fans will certainly recognize his swayed after-hours dance floor sound across Alone for the First Time, as on the album’s opening track ‘Hurt Me’ and ‘Surrounded’ (featuring the strong vocals of LA singer Kotomi). Stripping away the numerous guest appearances of little-known singers from across the globe, and underneath the drumbeats and 8-bit bleeps, there’s a melancholic core of reflection.
In a blog post for The Fader, the Halifax producer/DJ/musician wrote about his first trip to Japan and the on the road, partying lifestyle.
“There’s an imbalance that touring musicians can’t ever really fix. The highs of a sold-out show, meeting people who claim they love you without knowing you, and low of any and every form of withdrawal. Because that’s the nature of it all, you’re constantly withdrawing yourself from places and people. I always have trouble facing that imbalance head-on.”
“I want to make friends where I go—best friends,” he wrote. “I want to eat amazing food even if I feel sick, and I want to stay out late even if it means not sleeping for another day or two. But there’s a timer ticking, and eventually the timer will run out, and the imbalance will set in.”
This sentiment pervades the album, from ‘Hurt Me’ all the way to the final song ‘By Myself,’ as Hemsworth withdraws from the world and mixes beats in his bedroom on his laptop. Alone for the First Time”s world-weary emotional core reveals Hemsworth’s continuing promise in balancing lovelorn songwriting with electro-pop music that never wallows in over-wrought sentimentality.
Essential tracks: “Walk Me Home”, “Snow in Newark”, and “Surrounded”