Ryan Duncan, a 2013 graduate of SAE Institute Los Angeles’ Audio Technology Program, has released “The Escapist”, his 11 song debut album under his performing name Gypsy Eyes.
“The Escapist” has received an 8 out of 10 star review from ScenePointBlank, a leading music webzine that covers new and noteworthy independent releases. ScenePointBlank describes “The Escapist” as “electro nirvana… infusing jazzy annunciations and new age ambience into hypnotic dance compositions” which placed the reviewer into a “peaceful trance.”
“I’m influenced by genre hybrids where you can’t pigeonhole the exact style or intention,” says Duncan, who wrote, performed, produced, and engineered “The Escapist”. “I’m drawn to music that focuses on emotion, feeling, intelligence, atmosphere, subtlety, and extremes – like Aphex Twin, Fennesz, Tim Hecker, Pantha Du Prince, and Four Tet. While elements of these artists’ sounds have influenced me in one way or another, ultimately my mood at the time of creation is my biggest influence.”
Duncan is a native of Inland Empire, a county in southern California. He played saxophone in his elementary school band and switched to guitar as a teen, but by the time he graduated from San Bernadino’s Cajon High School in 2007, his interest in music had faded. A few years later, his musical passion was reinvigorated, but this time by a computer.
“I experimented with music software, watched YouTube tutorials, and made a bunch of noise,” says Duncan. “I had played around with the early digital production program FruityLoops as a kid, but I didn’t know what I was doing and I couldn’t save any of the terrible songs that I created. But after high school, everything started to click and I became addicted.”
Duncan’s enthusiasm for electronic music and music production inspired him to pursue an education in audio engineering at SAE Institute Los Angeles.
“At SAE, there was a big focus on self reliance, like keeping track of your projects, booking studio time, and learning a new console, plugin, or software program,” says Duncan. “All of those responsibilities gave me discipline that I never had before. Also, befriending other students and teachers who were creating their own music really inspired me to keep improving my own work.”
“Before SAE, I was always in my own bubble and I had no one to share ideas with. So when I’d hear one of my classmate’s amazing new tracks I’d think to myself ‘Damn, I need to step it up, I need to practice more.’ That friendly rivalry at SAE gave me huge motivation to keep striving and experimenting.”
In April 2013, Duncan released “REM”, a three-track digital-only release on Noise met Sound, an independent Los Angeles-based music label. “The Escapist” was released in October 2013, and inhabits a variety of sonic territories, ranging from acoustic sources such as music boxes and celesta to digital bass lines, mangled voices, and floating textures.
“My music is a sonic representation of what I love to do: manipulate moods, subvert expectations, and provide a new, fresh perspective,” says Duncan. “The album format is one way to achieve this, and music videos, live shows, and sound installations are other avenues to choose from and explore. I’m just getting started.”
“The Escapist” is available as a digital-only release through Noise met Sound’s Bandcamp page.