REW<<

REW (Photo by Joe Wigdahl) “has a feel all its own… These concise little songs are continually expanding and contracting, demonstrating how even seemingly minor mixing changes can stir a big emotional impact”Express Milwaukee

The eclectic songcraft of REW<< (Ryan E. Weber) is refracted through the lens of a laptop, conveying the open-endedness, excitement, and disconnection of post-modern living while maintaining the immediacy of pop. From the grand to the intimate, REW<<’s many shades blend beautifully within the one canvas thanks to Weber’s skilled hand. His compositional dexterity manages to invest the dreaminess with a sense of drama, no more evident than in REW<<’s sophomore release Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs.
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Discography

 

Conversation Arctique


November 2018

In direct contrast to his eclectic, pop-inflected albums Departeures and Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, Conversation Arctique is a sparse, beautiful EP of succinct pieces for piano and strings that trace elegant melodic arcs like breath in cold air. Akin to the work of Julien Marchal, Conversation Arctique is a work of magical minimalism.

 

 

Cupid’s Empty House (The Remixes)


October 2018

Cupid’s Empty House (The Remixes) features reworkings by Markus Mehr, Liminal Drifter, Ethan Kavanagh, Twilla and Rachel Harrup, plus the sublime original, taken from REW<<’s 2015 album Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs. There’s plenty to work with in the original’s delicate music box melodies and swooning synth strings, which evoke The Flaming Lips’ masterpiece The Soft Bulletin.

Hidden Shoal labelmates Markus Mehr and Liminal Drifter reimagine the original as a celestial exhalation and a burbling submarine delight, respectively. Ethan Kavanaugh sends snatches of voice snaking around glimmers of synth and drums, while Twilla juxtaposes pitch-shifted voice and thick bass against a stumbling drum loop. Finally, Rachel Harrup skilfully emphasises the delicious syncopation of the original.

 

Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs


July 2015

On Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, the eclectic songcraft of REW<< (Ryan E. Weber) is refracted through the lens of a laptop, conveying the open-endedness, excitement and disconnection of post-modern living while maintaining the immediacy of pop. From the grand to the intimate, REW<<’s many shades blend beautifully within the one canvas thanks to Weber’s skilled hand. His compositional dexterity manages to invest the album’s dreaminess with a sense of drama. From shimmering, widescreen electronic pop to haunting, minimal ballads, REW<< traverses dizzyingly varied terrain across the album’s 30 minutes, crafting a vivid journey that demands repeat visits.

 

Departeures


February 2014

REW<<‘s debut album. A stunning daydream travelogue recorded in hotel rooms and train compartments from July-September 2013 in Kenya, India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Biography

REW<< is the solo moniker of Ryan E. Weber, who originally hails from the Western shores of Lake Michigan. His previous bands include Camden, The Promise Ring and Decibully, and he is one half of dream-pop duo Eric & Magill. Working on Eric & Magill releases while living in both Kenya and the Republic of Armenia, Weber collaborated over the internet with a host of notable contemporary indie artists, including members of Shearwater, The Dirty Projectors, Owen, Volcano Choir and The Delgados. In 2014 he released his acclaimed debut solo album as REW<<, Departeures. His new album Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs is his debut for Hidden Shoal.

News

Reviews

  • “Eat Your Friends” Compilation Reviewed at DOA

    “Over almost a decade, Hidden Shoal records developed a reputation as a consistently innovative and experimental music label, giving to us music of remarkable qualities whether it was the instrumental excursions of Gilded, the blissed-out indie of My Majestic Star, the electronica of Marcus Mehr, the alt.folk stylings of Kramies – the HSR list of significant talents was a lengthy one. I say was, as in 2014 or thereabouts, the Hidden Shoal label underwent a reorganisation of sorts, and it began to seem that one of the more influential Australian record labels of the recent past was itself going into hiding. Perhaps so, although only to return refreshed, renewed, invigorated and with its varying artistic visions intact – the Eat Your Friends compilation proves that the Hidden Shoal label is properly with us again.

    One thing I’ve found when reviewing compilations is that not infrequently, when I put them into my music players, the tracks separate instead of remaining in their album folder, and that has happened with my copy of Eat Your Friends, encouraging me to view each of the tracks as a single release rather than view the album itself as a cohesive whole. Then there’s the fact that only some of its contributors are already known to me and so, ditching some of my preconceptions about what it’s going to sound like, I began listening to the 11 tracks in a random sequence, and prepared for the unexpected.

    Firstly, there’s singer/songwriter Erik Nilsson’s “Moksha Can Wait”, a song which electronic composer Marcus Mehr has taken and adapted to his subtly developed production sound, a track that begins almost inaudibly and builds to a staggering crescendo of soaring, roaring electronic sound and with Nilsson’s guitar and piano providing a counterpoint to Mehr’s swirling atmospherics. The ambient chill of City Of Satellites is given an added gloss by Tim Manzano, although I’m not so sure what he’s actually done with the track – it does sound a lot like the City Of Satellites I know from their Machine Is My Animal album, although as the track progresses and the rhythm and bass begin to disintegrate into a dubby conclusion it seems more apparent where Manzano has left his mark. Arc Lab’s “Through The Burning Glass” is remixed by Glanko, beginning with a club-level bassline before levelling into a noir tinged synth epic. And just when you thought the tracks on Eat Your Friends were entirely instrumentals, Rew perform a cover version of Umpire’s “Green Light District” and they do it with a vocal, alongside the strings and crashing cymbals and haltingly uncertain rhythms, a highlight of an album each of whose tracks is in one or another way remarkable.”

    DOA

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  • Rew<< “Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Siren Sings Swan Songs” Reviewed at Music Won’t Save You

    Translated via Google. Read the original here.]

    The ability to combine different styles and musical languages ​​is inherent in personal and artistic biography of Ryan E. Weber, whose curriculum appear collaborations with bands and artists such as Shearwater, Owen, Decibully and Dirty Projectors, conducted from various corners of the world. For some time Weber is, metaphorically, “back home” in its Michigan and driving a solo project, REW<<, in which condensation precisely his many experiences and such a versatile personality as elusive frameworks unique.

    His second solo album, “Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Siren Sings Swan Songs”, confirms Weber’s attitudes to a sound, however, tightrope walking that finds its hinges in the spirit of pop and density of synthetic prevalence sounds, dreamy and slightly acidic. In half an hour of Weber’s work in fact almost always it moves from keyboards to create sci-fi scenarios, when the rhythmic lapping even become more pronounced electro matrices and yet, in its strings there is also a taste for the latamente arrangement solutions ” orchestral “(at least in the sense Patrick Watson last” Love Songs for Robots “) and even to gentle acoustic harmonies, such as those that open surprise” the Distance from Vultures “.

    Agile orchestration of Weber and a linear melodic writing in his absence of sound continuity then complete the short sequence of songs from her second album, clear example of post-modern pop transformations.

    Music Won’t Save You

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  • REW<< “Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Siren Sings Swan Songs” Reviewed at Luna Kafe

    “I was truly amazed when hearing the second single off this album, “To Come Unglued”. A thrilling, sparkling song. I was also enthused when checking out the first teaser from the album, “The Lights in the Sands of Katumpkale” (launched in April). Heavenly music, indeed.

    So, a beautiful (and cryptic) title as Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Siren Sings Swan Songs must surely hide several treasures and hidden gems, besides “…Katumpkale” and “To Come Unglued”. Yes, of course it does. REW<< (a.k.a. Ryan E. Weber) has come up with a delicious dish of experimental and playful pop, making this an excellent adventure. Hidden Shoal call the eclectic songcraft of Weber to be ‘refracted through the lens of a laptop, conveying the open-endedness, excitement and disconnection of post-modern living while maintaining the immediacy of pop.’ When Hidden Shoal say that the spectre of Weber’s songs go from the ‘grand to the intimate (…from shimmering, widescreen electronic pop to haunting, minimal ballads)’… well, this is the perfect, pinpoint description. And, what’s even better: Olive Skinned… is fantastic either if its ‘grand’ or ‘intimate’. It fits both ‘outfits’. Either way is good. Spellbinding stuff for sure. Tune in to and hang on to Weber’s musical journey. You will be enriched in every way.

    The album opens with the careful, colourful and slowly spinning “Big Fish and the Sirens”. Imagine a big, dream world fish slaloming, zig-zagging the blue sea between some mysterious sirens singing trying to catch it. “To Come Unglued” is as fantastic that I remembered it from two moonths back. “The Distance From Vultures” is a more fragile, sparse moment, with a plucking guitar and Weber’s intimate, intriguing vocals. Most songs are tinted with mysticism and exoticism as they spin through near see-through veils of some dreamlike adventure land. When hearing these songs, I imagine some laidback, Tim Burtonesque scenes. Add some low-toned sequences from some of Christopher Nolan’s films, or Michel Gondry’s cinematic world, and you might end up somewhere near the soul of REW<<‘s song. This is the sound of the bordering area between consciousness and unconsciousness; between the real and the unreal; between sheer, clear love and discreet admiration. This is the soundtrack to misty landscapes of mystery and magic. Just check out tracks like “Indigo Fortresses”, “Swan’s Melody”, or “Cupid’s Empty House”. This is Cupid and Psyche 2015.

    Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Siren Sings Swan Songs is electronic pop mystique fantastique. I guess, when 2015 fades this will stand out as one of my definite favourites of the year. Hats off, Mr. Weber.”

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  • REW<< Reviewed at MFOA

    “i featured a song by veteran musician, world traveler and prolific collaborator REW (ryan e. webber) awhile ago and now i’ve got the whole album to lay on you. the music is tough to describe, classify, or shoe-horn into a genre. the music is dreamy, strange, and varied. you can tell that ryan uses the REW moniker (one among his many projects) to follow a restless creative urge where ever it takes him. it’s worth looking into.”

    The Modern Folk Music of America

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  • REW<< “Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs” Reviewed at Wake The Deaf

    “We previewed Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, the new album from REW<< back in April, where we were intrigued by blend of avant garde experimentalism and accessible pop sensibilities:

    Now the album has been released and I’m glad to say it follows this same blueprint. Opener ‘Big Fish And The Sirens’ is a perfect example of this. The first thirty seconds unfold as a luscious, intricate instrumental before Weber’s vocals arrive and transform the track into a pop song. But just as his vocals take centre-stage and you think you have it pegged, the music responds accordingly, swelling once more so that Weber’s voice is reduced to just another element of a brilliant whole. The song barely reaches the 2:20 mark, yet by the time the music recedes to leave sirens traversing the silence, you feel in the aftermath of something important and on the verge of a larger burst of activity.

    As we mentioned in other REW<< and Eric & Magill posts, Weber draws inspiration from across the globe, utilising an array of distinctive sounds side by side to create something akin to the multicultural world in which we live. ‘To Come Unglued’ opens with air-raid siren synths which morph quickly into an Eastern jaunt before the drums and vocals of Western pop kick in. The title track is similarly diverse, a collision of Bollywood and Hollywood scores with the slow, atmospheric percussion of a post-rock anthem. ‘The Lights in the Sands of Katumpkale’ is the soundtrack to a different cinematic world entirely, one where unknown Europeans committed weird to tape, while ‘Cupid’s Empty House’ is a grand dream-pop song, and ‘Swan’s Melody’ is piano-led and melancholic, full of lingering moments and gravid empty spaces.

    If this variety sounds jarring then that’s because it is. Weber does not knit all the elements into a seamless whole but rather plays with order and explores the joins, in doing so creating music which addresses our fragmented, postmodern existence. His biggest achievement is managing to assemble the pieces into something listenable for all of it’s idiosyncrasies, with the pop elements acting as a string to follow into the unfamiliar territories beyond.”

    -  Wake The Deaf

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  • REW<< ‘To Come Unglued’ Reviewed at MFOA

    “REW is ryan e. webber, electronic musician with a new album due out soon on hidden shoal recordings. his music is pretty wild, one of my favorites of the many hidden shoal releases i’ve covered. it is at once wide and narrow, transcending genre while being very self contained in terms of the way it was created. elements of pure pop, world music, psych, techno, and electronica blend to create something that is good to listen to but defies your attempts to categorize it…which is something i love. the video is very psychedelic as well.”

    The Modern Folk Music of America

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  • REW<< “Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Siren Sings Swan Songs” Reviewed at Bluesbunny

    “In the land of obscurity it is said that there are many treasures to be found and in the land of bedsit electronica it is said that there are gems just waiting to be unearthed. Whilst not highly polished, “Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Siren Sings Swan Songs” by the curiously named REW<< does indeed sparkle more than somewhat.

    This is something of a headphone album in that it seems crude and confused when removed from the intimacy enforced by such devices. That may, of course, be by design for although many of the songs attempt to scale the mountain there is little in the way of musical bravado on show here. The vocals are always understated, deliberately repetitious and often lost in the confusion of conflicting reverb as if echoing down a hallway in some derelict building while the melodies, for there are such things, are relegated to being beacons forever lighting the path to the end of the emotional tunnel.

    The most notable thing about this album is how well it flows and how quickly the songs, merging together as if designed to be part of a greater purpose, pass from the digital domain to the windmills of your mind. His light is always on.”

    Bluesbunny

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  • REW “Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs” Reviewed at The Big Takeover

    “Although the DIY tactic has always been a popular way for musicians to record and release material, the process has never been as fruitful, popular, or exciting as it is today. After all, the advent of newer technologies, coupled with the growing possibilities of social media and self-marketing, make it relatively easy for anyone with the ambition and artistry to put his or her work into the ether. Of course, this results in a lot of pedestrian efforts, but every so often you’ll find a remarkable needle in the mediocre haystack. Fortunately, Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, the sophomore LP by REW<<, is one such exception. Packed with dreamy, emotive soundscapes, absorbing production, inventive techniques, and engrossing melodies, it’s a fine example of how beautiful, unique, and creative music can be when it’s crafted entirely be one person.

    REW<< is the pseudonym of Ryan E. Weber, whose other projects (such as Camden, Eric & Magill, Decibully, and The Promise Ring) have earned him a significant underground following. Last year, he released his debut solo LP, Departeures, which received significant praise from several outlets. In making Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, he aimed to channel his vision “through the lens of a laptop, conveying the open-endedness, excitement and disconnection of post-modern living while maintaining the immediacy of pop.” With its awe-inspiring blend of orchestral treatments, wistful vocals, and indie foundations, the disc is a masterful sequence of touching sentiments, multilayered arrangements, and encompassing timbres that evokes the best elements of acts like The Great Depression, no-man, Sean Lennon, and The Autumn Chorus.

    Despite its short length (about thirty minutes), the album packs in more breathtaking moments than many works with twice the duration. For instance, opening gem “Big Fish and the Sirens” mixes distorted guitar, police sirens, high-pitched bells, overlapping vocals, and reverse percussion (among other elements) into an absolutely stunning concoction (especially in the way that these sounds travel between the stereo channels). From there, the more substantial “To Come Unglued” (which is also a single cut) soars due to its Middle Eastern percussion and dynamic variety. Furthermore, outbursts of regal horns allow the chorus to channel the spirit of early Chicago classics, as well as various ‘70s funk troupes.

    Later on, the title track is a dense excursion into sublime sonic madness, with a driving bass line and sharp guitar lead leading the way until a flock of heavenly strings turns the composition on its head. It’s a brilliant modification. Likewise, the orchestral dissonance of “ The Lights in the Sands of Katumpkale” makes for a very intense segue into “Swan’s Melody,” whose mournful piano lead and echoed verses undeniably gorgeous and touching. Subsequently, the quickly paced, multifarious construction of “Cupid’s Empty House,” with its swirling chimes and waltzing woodwinds, sounds like the sort of auditory puzzle The Dear Hunter might create. It’s definitely among the album’s best offerings.

    With its luscious yet ominous wall-of-sound production (including low piano notes, cinematic strings, clashing percussion, and thumping rhythm) “Indigo Fortresses” feels like a lost track by North Atlantic Oscillation. It also serves as a great penultimate piece, as it juxtaposes the finale of Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, “Pasageway to Happier Hours,” well. A repetitious ode (in a good way), the track finds Weber repeatedly saying, “When it’s gone, it’s gone” as modest drum beats, organ, horns, and piano decorate his cathartic delivery. It’s not the most intriguing song on the record, but it’s probably the best choice to finish it.

    Beyond cementing the idea that a lone musician can craft wonderfully emotional, colorful, and resourceful art, Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs further demonstrates that much of the most original and impactful music of today is being made under the radar, without the financial backing, mainstream publicity, or pop culture power of many severely inferior acts. In other words, REW<< is but one of countless artists whose popularity and success are inversely proportional to his talent and necessity. Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs is a fantastically varied, moving, and imaginative opus, and it deserves to be celebrated.”

    The Big Takeover

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  • REW “Departeures” Reviewed at Wake The Deaf

    “Ryan Weber, one half of Eric & Magill (who we featured here and chatted to here), has put together an album under the moniker REW«. As the artwork suggests, the record has a dreamy, tropical sound that is chillled, reflective and really rather lovely.

    When you hear the story of the recording process, the tropical sound isn’t surprising. Amazingly, Departeures was recorded in hotel rooms and train compartments across Kenya, India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia, all within a few months in 2013. If the wet/snowy weather is getting to you, put Departeures on your headphones and remember that it’s always summer somewhere in the world.”

    Wake The Deaf

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  • REW “Departeures” Reviewed at Erasing Clouds

    “There are palm trees on the cover, and the first song starts out with a vaguely tropical feeling before turning into something closer to a French-pop duet. A song midway through starts out with ambient sounds that very closely resemble (and probably are) the sounds you hear when you’re settling into an airplane seat and getting ready for takeoff. The final track, “Arriver” (as opposed to the opening track, “Departeures”), ends with a pilot’s loudspeaker announcement and some kind of field recording of applause.

    This is a travel album, one created during journeys which also replicates the disorientation and beauty of being on the move, abroad. It does that mainly through rather gorgeous, shifting dream-pop, consistently melodic (in a sticks-in-your-head even if you’re not sure what he’s saying way), but also with the directness of folk or punk. REW<< is Ryan Weber, who is half of the somewhat similarly focused duo Eric & Magill, and also has played in emotionally direct groups like the Promise Ring and its rootsier relative Decibully. That past is here somehow, though not so close to the surface that you’d guess it without knowing.

    Departeures was recorded in “hotel rooms and train compartments” in Asia and Africa, and is largely a one-person affair. The music feels carefully put together by someone with a lot of time on his hands; and a laptop that able to be recharged at airports across the
    globe. These songs seem solitary, too; focused within the brain of the traveler, asking questions of himself like, “Where do I go from here?” or expressing thoughts like “it’s getting tougher all the time.”

    Listening, though, I never imagine that those questions and thoughts pertain just to travel itself, but are more a reflection of how travel, especially solitary travel, presents a unique opportunity for contemplation.

    It may be rare for a DIY pay-as-you-wish “singer-songwriter” bandcamp album, even one for the laptop era, to warrant an additional instrumental version of the album. Yet this one has it, and deserves it. My ears and mind are drawn more often to the music and the
    ever-shifting textures of Departeures than I am to the singing and lyrics. Or rather, the vocals are just one more piece of the fabric; they unite with the synthesizers, acoustic guitars and unexpected or unidentifiable sounds.

    As an album it floats by quickly, but not without permeating your thoughts. Like travel itself, perhaps?”

    Erasing Clouds

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Press Releases

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Artist Photos

 

Music Videos

Licensing

REW’s music is  available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.

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