JOYRYDE’s new single, “Damn,” an eclectic bonanza of rap vocals and electronic pops, speaks for itself. It is one of the few songs that captures what the listener will ineluctably say upon listening to the track.
In any case, it is clear that his music simply does not give a shit.
It swerves and careens down the alleyways of the city at night, engines blasting a jubilant, raucous song, tires scraping up sparks, gas pedal pushed deliberately to the floor. Or perhaps it is kicking up flares of dust, swaggering in an empty parking garage. But it also feels somewhat diasporic, negotiating two spaces of identity: On the one hand, evoking that new-underground L.A. bass house sound, with its powerful womps, gritty screeches and urban sirens; on the other, hearkening to that old-skool, broken-beat U.K. garage sound, filled with gnashing hi-hats and aggressive, sampled voices.
His work is filled with materialistic images of expensive cars, industrial rust and street grime, constructing an urban-tenement aesthetic — living on the margins, playing a game of dangerous brinksmanship with life itself.
JOYRYDE’s aesthetic also evokes a singular sense of urban panic. You can hear — no, feel — the hot sweltering of a million souls gasping for air in the concrete jungle. It is a post-industrial sound of dissonant clanks, screams and laser beams; a sound of crashing metal on metal, with voices and sirens wailing eerily over the mix — and it should not sound good. It should just sound like a cacophonous slog of powerful noise — but it refuses to, no matter how hard your ears try.
There is an absurd, grotesque beauty to the music at it romps through your head, tracing deep circles of fire in your brain. And then the booming, angry voices surface, yelling nonsensical refrains like, “maniac material m-murder the dance floor,” “what’s in the fucking box,” and “mah flo’s ahead of your flo two times squared.” Metal scrapes on metal and there’s a scream — surely something’s gone terribly wrong. Nope — the beats pump breathlessly again.
There’s a certain absurdity to JOYRYDE’s music and aesthetic, but it makes for an experience unlike any other. It’s all swagger, no chill. The end result is an apoplectic, apocalyptic and unapologetic mess of headache material that you somehow can’t enough of.
Perhaps I should’ve listened to his warning: “THE FOLLOWING IMAGES MAY CAUSE EXTREME THRILL AND LEAD TO AN OVERDOSE IN BADASSERY,” as the music video for “Fuel Tank” says — but it’s far too late for me, as I’ve come to enjoy the thrill, the frenzy, the energy — it demands to be loud — and if you try to turn down the volume, you’ll find that it creeps back slowly, and before you know it, you’ve turned the knob right past 10 and into the dangerous domain of 11. We’ve all been there.
His music is a wild ryde, but it’s survivable — and certainly enjoyable. Simply heed JOYRYDE’s advice for enjoying his music: “For best results, install subwoofer in car, invite friends and gas pedal, gas pedal, gas pedal…”
It’s fitting that his new C.A.R. tour (“Calling All Rydrz”) features a large car, headlights shining bright, atop the stage. A car is a stranger to the stage — it belongs on city streets and highways — but this car is here for a reason, taking us on this musical joyryde, swerving noisily through the dark streets of San Francisco.
JOYRYDE will be coming to San Francisco on Feb. 16, at the Ruby Skye nightclub as a part of their Thursday “Control San Francisco” series. Dr. Fresch, Aryay and Sam F will also be performing. The venue is strictly 18+. Tickets are $20 for General Admission, and $350 for the VIP Mezzanine Table (21+ only).
Contact Trenton Chang at tchang97 ‘at’ stanford.edu.