Ryan Beatty has long-maintained a precarious role in music, existing as both a relatively enigmatic figure while at the same time contributing to numerous influential and notable works. The 23-year-old vocalist, songwriter, and producer worked with Tyler, the Creator on his Grammy-winning opus Igor, as well as making contributions to Kevin Abstract’s ARIZONA BABY and BROCKHAMPTON’s Ginger, Saturation II, and Saturation III. Today sees him once again stepping into the spotlight as a solo artist.
Dreaming of David is the first body of work from Beatty since his critically-acclaimed 2018 debut album, Boy in Jeans. The sophomore outing arrives as a poignant 12-track bout of self-expression and exploration. While Boy in Jeans experimented with moments of autotune and electronic production, Dreaming of David takes Beatty and his cohort’s fondness with synthetic elements and transforms them into a world unto itself.
“In The End” marks the opening moments of this sonic exploration, as distant synths and hushed murmurs steadily come into focus. It is a gradual build that never quite rises to provocation, instead, finding a comfortable soft spot amongst Beatty’s heavenly vocals. To say he has the voice of an angel would be mere no hyperbole.
While a majority of Dreaming of David is marked by intricate, evolving production and Beatty’s ever-impressive falsetto, at no point does it ever begin to feel one-note. Beatty’s vocals transform at a moment’s notice, from ominous lows to childlike highs to match the tone, creating a truly multi-dimensional work of art.
Likewise, the mostly minimalistic production bends and shits in response to Beatty’s ensuing moments of reflection and catharsis. The backing score in tracks like “Shimmer” and “Dark Circles” are marked by sudden fireworks, veritable explosions of sounds and overflowing imagery. Beatty spoke on constructing the world of Dreaming of David, sharing,
“Making this album felt like moulding clay-malleable, slow and meticulous-it taught me perseverance, patience and to listen to the world around me.”
Dreaming of David is a project built on echoed thoughts, sentiments that are left to hang in space, never quite fading out of existence. And while it may be an album largely built on synthetic elements, the autotuned vocals and electronic-focused production simply constitute the vehicle for one of the most human albums of the year.
Listen to Dreaming of David below: