Progressive, groove-driven electronic music now has a voice. Carbon, the new album by Ryan Goodnight is heavily infused with vocals. Though Carbon has its roots firmly planted in electronic music and tends to push toward synthpop, listening to Carbon proves to be a cross-genre experience. The album opens with a few powerful upbeat tracks featuring strong drums and driving synths. Powerful male vocals carry the first song from beginning to end daring to ask the listener if he has Any Doubts. This song is quickly followed up by the fast paced I’m Not Giving Up which showcases a driving beat and Ryan’s ability to flow from one part of the song seamlessly into another. While synths dominate the track, it also features electric slap bass and a Rhodes keyboard.
Skipping forward, Ambition takes a different musical path as the lead vocals are not as much sung as they are rapped. The song climaxes at the three quarter mark as there is an acceleration that explodes into orchestral bells and strings and synth pads. Denial features hard synths with classic Ryan Goodnight song structure. It flows from electronic elements into effected acoustic guitar and then right back again. The song grows more frantic as it progresses until finally it explodes releasing its energy and finally ending on a positive note. Further into the album Message Earth reveals its self slowly as an evolving pad takes the song into the lead sung by Luara Hakun of Echo To Base. This cover retains some of the rock elements it originally possessed and presents the song in a powerful and dark light.
The album strays into a smooth R&B groove with One More Second as it continues to cross musical boundaries. Classic dance hits are pounded out with both All I Need and Thought I Knew, as the vocals of Natalie Carrera soar overtop. There is a thread of Industrial influence woven throughout the album but it is particularly noticeable on Skin Deep and Astray. The album nears an end with Where Does The Time Go as Ryan and Natalie trade vocals in both English and Spanish. Finally, over an hour after it started, the album comes to a close with This Is Not Goodbye, as it progresses from electronic groove into acoustic guitar lead folk and back again.
Carbon combines an eclectic mix of instruments and musical styles into one cohesive whole. At seventeen tracks, Carbon is anything but short and sweet. Ryan Goodnight’s new album has an intelligence and soothing flow. There is great attention to detail for each track and also, the album as a whole. As songs cascade from one track into another you’ll find yourself lost in the music over and over again.