Clown – Aidan Ripley

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17 year old Aidan Ripley grew up wrapped in alternative music. He’s always been intrigued by the juxtaposition of an “intense emotional reaction” to the “apathy of the modern world”. Drawing inspiration from epics Gorillaz, Radiohead and Tame Impala, Ripley “amalgamates hyper emotion with complete detachment”. The resulting sound is intriguing and impressive. Ripley made his Spotify debut this year with three singles, each complex and fascinating.

Clown is a sinister and experimental piece of writing. The opening bars reminded me of the brilliant Eels, but the track quickly walks in several different directions. The weird synths and dripping water percussion lock into a groove, and Ripley croons about how “tomorrow cries for yesterday”. The chaotic energy in the track feels perfect for the unhinged nature of 2020. The piece plays around with reverb and repeating synth lines, building an immersive and consuming soundscape. I particularly loved the bassline, which does an awesome job of making Clown feel winding.

All of Clown was improvised as it was recorded, which explains the unpredictable nature of the track. Ripley uses surprise falsetto to unnerve the listener – the melody goes where it shouldn’t. In combination with eerie flute and a trumpet outro, Clown is somewhere between a bad trip and ingenious. I live for the chaos though; I can honestly say the track is wildly different from anything I’ve heard in a while.

Aidan Ripley feels like an act to watch. I’m interested in following the direction of his music – it’s amazing the complexity and maturity he’s found in his sound already. You can follow him too, on Instagram.

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