Joshua Ryan

 

Former URB cover boy and Pittsburgh native Joshua Ryan creates the sort of sweeping “progressive house” that finds its way into the megaclub-filling sets of DJs such as Paul Oakenfold, Pete Tong and John Digweed. Fortunately for the cheese-intolerant, Ryan brings a rare subtlety and subliminal funk to a genre often devoid of both qualities. (He disses “lowbrow Eurotrance” and also works with drum-‘n’-bass hardass Dieselboy.) His intelligently crafted debut album, By Design, accentuates pensive melodies and spacious dynamics while avoiding the corny arpeggiated-synth buildups and cloying ambient breakdowns that make prog house and trance the banes of electronic music. Instead, the disc exudes the deep spiritual vibe and earthy rhythmic heft common to the Om and Ubiquity labels’ artists. Although Ryan has scored a UK hit with “Pistolwhip,” he is anything but a slick merchant of shallow beats and saccharine synth tones. Unlike many DJ-producers at his jet-setting level, he can make you throw your hands in the air and still respect yourself the next morning.

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