Last year, Kyan smashed his way into the British music scene, with a one-two punch of excellent EPs. First came The Purple Experiment, which saw a classic neo-soul record with touches of R&B and contemporary electronica thrown in. EP opener “Rosetta” and mid-tempo ballad “Zoo” in particular showed the UK that Kyan wasn’t messing around. Follow-up EP Days In A Triangle pushed Kyan’s sound further into it’s own territory – sporting cult hit “Taking The City”, a huge track which, more than anything, felt cool to listen to.
Now reaching the tail end of 2015, Kyan has released his third EP, entitled Remote View. The EP sports five tracks, which culminate to a total length of just over 18 minutes. Although this may seem short, each of the songs on Remote View manage to carry their own identity, ranging from piano-lead ballad “Sometimes”, to the R&B-toned “Grammar”. That is not to say that Kyan doesn’t manage to retain his own sound throughout the EP, and although the record is certainly experimental, it doesn’t ever really feel disjointed.
Album-opener and lead-single “Sometimes” shows that things have changed right off the bat. The track takes the form of a piano-driven ballad, which builds to a huge chorus: “No, I don’t want your lies, there’s nowhere to hide“. Kyan makes this declaration in an almost uplifting manner, juxtaposing against the quiet, ethereal piano chords. Immediately we see that Remote View is kicking off in a very different manner to Days In A Triangle, with Kyan not only experimenting with new sounds, but doing so in a mature, confident manner.
“Wires On The Fences“, takes the tempo back up, introducing a solid procession section. The track sees Kyan’s vocals moving to a more traditional soul-oriented register, which elegantly fits the nature of the track. Kyan laments the state of affairs, “these are dark, dark times“, being propped up with a catchy, if repetitive, lead-piano riff. Towards its final minute, “Wires On The Fences” builds to a huge climax, backed up by strings and harmonised vocals.
The album’s mid-point, “Grammar“, sees a track with clear R&B undertones, which gradually builds, as the track progresses. As “Grammar” develops, so too do the underlying synths, which climb to a crescendo leading into a breakdown sporting what are almost choral vocals. Arguably the strongest track on the record, “Grammar” clearly displays Kyan as a singer capable of seamlessly blending vocal styles into a cohesive and unique mixture.
“Rather Be With You” begins softly, with muted drums slowly listing into focus, aligned with the increasing tempo of the track. Arpeggiated synths come in towards the triumphant climax of the track. The percussion-section in “Rather Be With You” really holds the track together, with a catchy drum beat pushing the soulful tune.
Final track, “Drive”, as with other tracks on the EP, begins quietly, with Kyan whispering lines over delicate tumbling synths. However, unlike other similar beginnings, “Drive” doesn’t build, but rather keeps a quiet, melancholic focus throughout. “Drive” ends Remote View on a downbeat tone, with Kyan repeating “I just want to drive“, as the song slowly dies down to a close.
Overall, Remote View feels like a much more mature EP than The Purple Experiment and Days In A Triangle. This is not to say that the first two records were juvenile, but Remote View feels very much like the product of a much more confident artist, who is yet continuing to hone his sound. A quality EP, and well worth your time if you’re on the hunt for some fresh British music. Kyan’s Remote View EP is out now on Virgin EMI, purchase it on iTunes here.
Words by Sam Jourdan