We know Ryan Summers as half of Midwest Soul Xchange, the Americana-infused pop duo who worked together from afar. Now, he’s back with a solo album that was born out of exploratory music making crafted during times of insomnia. The album title, F51.01, is the medical code for insomnia, and begins the series of complex titles that make the album up.
Within F51.01, there are Eno-inspired sonic washes (the beginning of “Φ” and the drawn out layers of “Logos” are examples), cinematic climbs (“Native Warning”) and a constant building of tension (“Clock Works”, “Solenoid”). The tracks are long, and find simple repetitions but never stop shifting. There is always the sense of movement and something bubbling under the surface.
The opening track “Beneath the Ice” and album closer “Logos” seem to mirror each other by mixing angelic washes with melancholy melodies. Within those boundaries are ominous moments: the ghostly delicacy of “Music Box”, the droning hum of “Power Relay Unit”. The album is ambience music that could only come from heavy experimentation and a sense of struggle.
The originality of the project stems from Ryan Summers’ choice to “re-amp” the sound by recording the songs on software synthesizers and then re-recording as he played elements through an amp. The result is a heavy blend of synthetics and spaciousness.