Sounds // Releases to watch for: Cycle x Michael Rider

Grimalkin Records is on fire this year, first with the Wavy Awards compilation album and now with this release by Michael Rider (they/them).

Their fourth studio album Cycle is partially inspired by their first album Lighthouse which recently passed its ten year anniversary (it was originally released in 2011).

After years of working with several producers to create their last full-length album Temptation, Rider decided to take the creative process in a different direction, opting to work in- depth with three collaborators: Brooklyn-based pop artist (and one of our favorite artists in general) M the Myth, Voyager Sound Studio’s Nathan Feler, and multi-instrumentalist Richard L. Entrup. 

The majority of the album was made over Zoom, which is incredible and also mind-boggling.

Rider described the process as being “intuitive, seamless, and fun” and calls the record one that made itself.

The album revisits themes discussed in their previous works, namely their pursuit of healthy relationships, both romantically and with themself. Rider reflects on why they find themself stuck in a cycle of toxicity where they fall into the same kind of destructive love time and time again. The lyrics also delve into the duality present in the different phases of life one encounters and how one must embrace its dialect in order to find balance both internally and externally. 

“Looking at both sides of the coin gives me the insight to challenge myself and hopefully make a positive personal change.” 

The track list is a response to itself, with the topics in the first half of the album being reversed in the back half.

Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Rider migrated (like the best of us) to New York City in 2013, and instantly became a staple at gone, but not forgotten, Sidewalk Cafe, the birthplace of anti-folk, amongst some of our favorite artists such as Brett Gleason, Siv Disa, and Prince Johnny. Inspired by the work of Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Rider sings of the anxieties of life while mixing the traditional piano of their past with innovative electronic production, creating an ethereal pop experience.

Rider’s album Cycle releases on Grimalkin on May 13, 2022. The pre-order for Cycle and final single, Baby I’m Scared, releases on April 8th, 2022.

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