Very often, at the end of each year, you are left with a slew of releases that you didn’t even have a chance to hear or even skip through them quickly. Part of the reasons for that lie in the fact that as the winter holiday season approaches, there are always a slew of releases vying for your attention. And usually, you opt to listen to what you know. The rest… well, whatever piques your interest at the moment.
So what happens with the rest? The idea is to leave them for some quieter release time. If that ever comes. Or to chance. And that chance has come to Ryan Summers and his album Undo Influence, which was released during the (pandemic) Christmas rush 2020. Was that given chance worth it?
Certainly. First of all, you can easily slot Summers in a very broad category as an experimental artist. As “Chasm,” the opener here starts unfolding, you might get the impression you are in for some instrumental Americana in the style of Ry Cooder’s Paris, Texas soundtrack. But then, Summers introduces some vocals and hard-hitting electronics. He then keeps on shifting back and forth, adding some ‘standard’ rock along the way.
From there on, the tone of the album gets some very dark overtones. You see, Summers decided to cover his personal experiences with cults, a truly heavy theme. As Summers explains:
“My experiences deprogramming from an internet cult about a decade ago is the central theme of Undo Influence. The songwriting highlights what cult experts call ‘floating’, a phenomenon whereby an ex-member is caught between their original pre-cult identity and a second persona developed as a coping response to the cult environment. It’s like slow-motion schizophrenia where you don’t know what to believe, but the emotions are enormous.”
What we get is some quite serious listening experience, but one worth the trip.
Ryan Summers – ‘Undo Influence’ Reaction
Ryan Summers offers a unique mix of musical styles while delivering intimate songwriting about deprogramming from a cult.