By Connor Gatesman, Staff Writer
“Everything’s Happening” is the new self-produced extended play from River View, the alias of Cy Alpheus Tyrrell Gowdie, a sophomore studying marketing at the Stern School of Business at NYU. The project, which dropped on November 26, is a blend of vocals with electronic rhythms which form a number of memorable tracks that build off one another while still retaining the ability to stand alone.
The tracklist starts off with the enigmatic song “Body Language,” a pulsating and austere tune filled with aggression and angst. As Gowdie’s distorted vocals battle the beat, harsh sawtooth synths permeate the soundscape. The overall mixing could be better here, but the song still succeeds in spades. The instrument variety meshes incredibly well with Gowdie’s singing, and the track sounds extremely cohesive from start to finish.
This tune flows effortlessly into the next, a seamless kind of transition rarely found in much of the single-oriented music released nowadays. “Complications,” the second track on the project, lacks the verve of the first, but instead opts for a slower, more delicate pace, with Gowdie crooning over a much mellower instrumental. Of particular note is the sweeping ambient sounds that couple nicely with the 80’s tinged synths and reverb soaked background vocals. The tail end of the song has Gowdie singing against a minimal keyboard accompaniment, with haunting success.
The following track, “The Hounds, Pt 1,” isn’t as memorable, but still succeeds in matching the overall tone as the songs that preceded it. Gowdie has clearly latched onto an effective blend of somber vocals with biting synths, much of which is coated in a sinister distortion that casts a dark haze over the project’s overall atmosphere. He isn’t afraid to commit to this sound either, and he result is a set of tracks that flow incredibly well with one another.
The title of track four, “Vulnerability,” is a fitting one. Gowdie’s tendency toward gloomy, distorted vocals and instrumentation casts both his voice and persona in a pained, almost desperate light. It’s not exactly clear who he’s addressing in his lyrics, but it’s easy to tell that it’s tearing him to shreds.
This project isn’t without it’s faults however. Gowdie’s singing falls flat at times, particularly on the tune “Central Park.” The track aims for a stripped back drum machine vibe woven with nostalgia tinted vocals. Unfortunately, his singing fails to properly stand on its own during this song and the autotune is unable to hide this. His voice shows definite promise, but he lacks the vocal confidence and accuracy of a more seasoned singer. For the most part however, when paired with an infectious beat, this is much less of an issue.
With that song aside, this is a very solid project. What Gowdie lacks in vocal prowess he makes up in deft song pacing and thematic consistency. The production on this extended play embodies a brooding kind of emotional tension that carries throughout the tracklist without feeling repetitive or overdone. The songs have a palpable energetic dynamism that constantly shifts and keeps the listener on edge.
The last song on the project, “Read,” is a driving track with a catchy melody and industrial yet danceable percussion. Gowdie experiments with varied levels of vocal volumes, creating a layered experience. The song ends with an ambient fade out accented with street noise, making for a proper end to a project that’s equal parts ambitious and entertaining.
You can listen to “Everything’s Happening” on all major streaming services.