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Album Review: 'Prolog' by Rayssa Dynta

Marcel Thee

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, April 13, 2018  /  12:18 pm
Album Review: 'Prolog' by Rayssa Dynta

‘Prolog’ by Rayssa Dynta (Double Deer Records/File)

Rayssa Dynta’s debut EP Prolog is contemporary R&B dripped in modern romance and metropolitan nights.

Released by local label Double Deer Records, the mini-album offers up five silky tracks of instantaneous mood-setters and lovelorn lyricism that speak directly to fans of modern pop. It is inoffensively catchy enough to act as a driving soundtrack, yet still infused with enough personality and introspectiveness as to feel weighty.

Having written music since she was a child, Rayssa’s journey into contemporary R&B wasn’t an immediate one. She started by creating music that she now considers “kids’ stuff” about running around her garden and watering flowers. That led to a more considered pit stop at a folky singer-songwriter type of music creation with an acoustic guitar around 2014. She only played two shows with these setups.

She then latched onto her piano and acoustic guitar before finally expanding the songs she had written with those instruments and developing a more electronic-based musicality.

Rayssa now says her days of writing tracks “helped me in making Prolog, since I’m used to the idea of writing songs. And I personally think my pop influences show through the tracks on the EP”.

Indeed, as electronic-driven as it is, Rayssa still categorizes her current music as pop, albeit one with obvious digital flourishes. These elements were something she took from Arrio (real name Adhe Arrio), her producer and arranger on Prolog and a musician himself.

“I mean, it was a discovery to me to hear this kind of vibe from a local musician. It wasn’t everywhere back then, and I felt challenged, so I went along with it. And it fits well with the songs I was writing,” she explains.

Rayssa wanted to combine her own disparate influences — legendary singers Perry Como and Bing Crosby, as well as minimalist composer Philip Glass — with Arrio’s modern touch. “I think the last thing he fears is experimenting with sounds,” she says.

With such goals, it may make sense why Prolog — while only offering up five songs — took two years to make. That, and the fact that Rayssa was still in school.

“I was still in college, going into the studio after class whenever I had the time. There was never any pressure, no deadlines. And it’s different for every song — some I tried to make at home first, some drafts were emailed to me, some my producer and I worked on together in the studio and one or two songs were scrapped. It was not until mid-2017 that we finally thought it was good enough.”

Lyrically, Rayssa says she was inspired by “nonfiction” and her personal experiences — though she’s not prone to juicing up the details a little for dramatic effect.

“In some cases, a little frosting on the cake won’t hurt anybody. And I personally do think about what I’m writing a lot — mostly because I don’t want it to sound so obvious and too specific that it’s hard for people to relate to.”

She talks about one of the songs, “Best Tonight”, as being about “me, reassuring myself with what I wanted to do in life. I tend to go where the universe takes me, but then I was at a point where I could not do that anymore.”

Prolog certainly feels like someone who now knows how to combine the universe’s plans with new adventures. It’s a promising debut for a young artist whose sound promises commercial viability.