I’ve had songs from Rival Console’s 2015 album, Odyssee / Sonne, on my radar for some time. When “Vision of Self” showed up, I was instantly taken with it, before I even registered who the artist was. This goes to show that songs from artists with bigger names don’t benefit from the name, but rather, make an impact on the audience through the creative brilliance of the artist themself.
When explaining the meaning behind the song, the London-based musician and producer Ryan Lee West, aka Rival Consoles, expands:
“The title of the music reflects this sense ‘what is the self?’: it is both knowable and unknowable, it is always changing as we get older and as we pass through experiences, our relationship with ourselves, with others, with nature, dreams, love, hurt, desire, repair etc. I like the dream-like nature of thinking about this and how electronic music can echo that dream-like quality in an abstract yet identifiable way.”
Writing about a song that covers such a profound topic got me thinking. Though I don’t have the necessary intelligence to think very deeply about such a vast subject, with “Vision of Self” on repeat, I gave it my best shot.
It’s hard to know what the self is, but we each seem to have a sense of it. We have these seemingly connected dots of memories, preferences, reactions, and ways of thinking that we package as one ever-evolving story of ‘who I am.’ So maybe that’s what the self is — a story. And maybe the plot twist is that the self doesn’t really exist in the way we take it to be, just like the plot twist of any great song, is that it can lead the listener to think.