‘Warm harmonies and gently developing accompaniments ensure every track hits all the right notes.’
Intro to Ardyn
Steadily building a catalogue of tracks since releasing their debut EP ‘Universe’ in 2015, Ardyn have continued to musically develop. Formed of Rob and Katy Pearson, this brother and sister duo from Gloucestershire have all the hallmarks of the perfect sibling ensemble. Seamlessly combining warm harmonies with gently developing accompaniments, every track proves they are most definitely hitting all the right notes.
Featured Track 1: Together
Opening with a rising bass line, subtle strings, chord based piano and harmonic vocals, the introduction of ‘Together,’ (April 2017), has a real sense of anticipation about it. Will it be a dance-style track? Will it be a more soulful one? Will it be something different? Either way, you can just tell it’s going to be a great track.
Rhythmically driving from the start, through the prominent bass drum beat, the first verse secures the style of the track. Alongside this, the lyrics begin to set up themes of detachment, longing and hopefulness. It’s a wonderful combination and Katy’s vocal tells the story perfectly. Developing further on reaching the chorus, the basic pattern transforms into a full beat bringing even more drive to the track. While this could overpower the vocal, it doesn’t and through the use of vocal harmony and added effects, the message is never lost.
In a similar way to the opening, the second verse sees a return to a sparser accompaniment. However, there is some great musicality going on here, and while they would be forgiven for remaining with the same instrumentation as before, they don’t. Instead, the chords switch to acoustic guitar and are then joined by the previous accompaniment. It’s simple, but it’s really effective.
Taking us to the end of the track, a bridge occurs and bringing new light to the track, the accompanying elements drop out revealing a repetitive synth pattern. Gradually building to the end – through harmonic vocals from both Rob and Katy and developing textures – it’s a track that has the perfect balance of interest and togetherness.
Featured Track 2: Throwing Stones
Released in August, ‘Throwing Stones,’ takes us into a different part of Ardyn’s musical world. Starting out with pounding half-time drums and synth string chords, its introduction has an almost orchestral edge. Though unexpected – given the sound of ‘Together’ – you immediately realise this duo are about more than just making ‘good music.’
Equally unexpected, for the same reasons, Katy’s vocal has a contrasting tone to the previous release. Exposed and intriguing, it makes you wonder where this Kate Bush-esque vocal has suddenly come from. Wherever it has come from though, it’s fantastic and as it grows, you are drawn in more and more as we move toward the chorus.
Weaving in among the previous textures, an arpeggiated synth pattern begins to emerge. Gently adding interest to the developing texture, it guides us from the pre-chorus and into the full chorus. Alongside this, there is a welcome return of vocal harmony. Soft and warm sounding, the combination of Rob and Katy’s vocals is beautiful. However, not content with that, multi-tracked backing vocals from Katy add extra emphasis to the phrases. Like the vocals themselves, it creates a beautiful effect.
Guiding us into the second half of the track, a brief interlude occurs. Formed of elements from the introduction and reverberating space-like sounds, it perfectly blends what has come before with what is to occur. Subtly building on these more otherworldly sounds, the latter half of the track takes on a slightly different guise. Ever developing, the penultimate section, with its swirling, space-like textures, throws us into orbit before returning to musical earth.
Featured Track 3: Life Happens
Setting off in a contrasting way, ‘Life Happens,’ (October 2017), opens with a repeating bass note. Mission-like in its sound, there is a real sense that the track is going be one that builds and builds. Combined with this, sustained piano chords set out the harmonic movement. It’s a fantastic start and at only a few seconds in, you can’t wait to see where the track will end up.
Asking us the question: ‘Are you part of the rat race, or are you part of the human race?’ the opening lyrics are highly thought-provoking. Has life in fact become so busy that we forget what is important to us? Continuing this theme of reflection, more delicate sounding electric guitar chords punctuate the lyrics as they pass through ideas of dreams and wonder. This is most definitely music with a message.
Encouraging us to further question how we spend our own lives, the lyrics ask if we are ‘running in circles.’ Presumably hinting at the relentless nature of every day life, they are the perfect contrast to the more positive, guitar riff infused accompaniment. Extending this further, the same lyrics return and through the use of harmonic vocals from both Rob and Katy, there is greater emphasis. The musicality doesn’t end there though.
Signaling the second half of the track, a link section formed of a simple guitar riff and subtle drum pattern takes us to the next musical stroke of genius. Building with intent on every hit, the drum pattern – most notably the metallic elements – takes on a machine like form. Becoming increasingly driven, it provides the perfect musical nod to the nature of everyday life before Katy’s soaring, multi-tracked vocals guide us to the final chorus. Whatever happens in your life, make sure you find time to listen to Ardyn.
All of the tracks reviewed are available to buy on iTunes and you can follow Ardyn‘s latest progress on Twitter.