Ryan Hemsworth, “Afterglow”

Raz Robinson

Since the release of his most recent full length Alone For The First Time last lear, Ryan Hemsworth, “the only Nova Scotian producer in the game,” has been keeping it pretty quiet in terms of original material. In the meantime, he’s been in the business of dropping extremely ambitious remixes, reworking tracks so you can get loose to a Mitski song or break your neck to Tigers Jaw. But now Hemsworth has just broken radio silence with a new original track “Afterglow”.

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Hemsworth is no stranger to diversifying his sound. While a lot of his music sounds like something fit for a nightclub, he’s pretty versed in the dreamlike arrangements occupying the space outside of dance music. The opening half of the song features plucked cello by collaborator Keira McArthur that’s both haunting and serene. It’s actually the thing that gives “Afterglow” a sort of post rock vibe; like at any moment this whole song could just burst open into jam that goes on for 15 more minutes. But clocking in at only a little over three and a half minutes, the song chooses to go in a different direction, to tap into a different kind of ecstasy.

Almost 2/3 of the way in, at a moment when the song has you pining for an increase in energy, these light fast-paced electronic drums come in while nymphy woodwinds ride an angular rhythm in the background. The song just starts to really sink its toes into the dirt, moving in a distinctly more melodic direction. The synth at the end sounds more like a trumpet and the breathy “Sha-na-na-na-na’s” towards the middle have this abstract quality to them. They really sound like the tones you would make to consult with some kind of deity that can only communicate by ruffling the leaves on the trees with the wind and whistling through holes and inconsistencies in the bark. If anything, “Afterglow” is testament to Hemsworth’s talent for mixing live and electronic instrumentation in a way that doesn’t diminish the vibe they create independently while simultaneously creating a sound that’s unique to him.

“Afterglow” is streaming below.

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