Dylan Ryan Timothy Young Devin Hoff

"Dylan Ryan is a drummer adept at combining his jazz skills with adventurous rock, resulting in music that maintains the cerebral and viceral qualities of both. Sand finds him in a trio... the set is split almost evenly between the drummer's compositions–engaging guitar melodies delivered with the heft of prog rock–and group improvs that succeed whether they're gentle or vicious..." – JazzTimes

"In his new band, Sand, Ryan couldn't have found a better guitarist than Tim Young, who could be mistaken for Bill Frisell, if Frisell enjoyed punching random people in the face. With an ass-kicking palate of sonic texture, Ryan, Young and bassist Devin Hoff offer something in between John Zorn's raucous free-jazz and the romantic stylings of Black Sabbath." – L.A. Weekly

Sand is...a progressive ensemble that skillfully negotiates the tenuous divide between avant-garde jazz and instrumental post-rock...exploring the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic intricacies of creative improvised music at volume levels more akin to rock than traditional jazz...As memorable as [the] writing is however, it's the dynamic interplay between the three musicians that imbues this date with its distinctive appeal." – AllAboutJazz

"Sky Bleached was a killer opening salvo for Dylan Ryan's Sand; Circa ups the ante and proves the debut was no fluke." – All Music Guide 


RUNE 397

Two years after the release of their impressive debut Sky Bleached, Dylan Ryan/Sand release Circa, a purposeful continuation of the aesthetic that the group had fostered on its first record. Circa, which features guitarist Timothy Young (David Sylvian, Reggie Watts, Wayne Horvitz), bassist Devin Hoff (Nels Cline Singers, Yoko Ono, Cibo Matto) and leader / composer / drummer Dylan Ryan (Herculaneum) has a wholly unique styling, which ranges from the fearlessly improvisational to the tender; the abrasive to the understated.

Regarding his intentions for Sand's second record, Ryan said, “The most important thing for me while putting this record together was the idea of playing on the strengths of the first record without completely abandoning the sound we stumbled onto. When I did the first record, Hoff, Young, and I hadn’t played a single show, or even played that much together yet so we were kind of feeling things out. After touring that record, I knew that I wanted to build on four main things; the harmonic openness or simplicity, the dramatic dynamic shifts, the ensemble passages, and especially group unison parts.” 

Circa takes the most memorable elements of the debut record and expands upon them, honing the craft, and further distinguishing their sound. The sheer size of the band’s sound has increased immensely. The introspective pastoral moments of “Visionary Fantasy” are book-ended by sludge-trodden group passages and the shadows of Dark Americana in “Slow Sculpture”, which in turn are countered in “Possession” with highly imaginative Melvins-esque ensemble figures. Young’s blissful guitar phrases lend an almost vocal capacity to these songs as Ryan and Hoff offer a perfect vehicle for his exuberance.
Circa press release

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RUNE 357

Featuring his volatile and dramatic trio Sand, Sky Bleached is Dylan Ryan’s debut album under his own name, but the insistently exploratory drummer and composer isn’t making a first impression. A bandstand veteran who’s spent the past decade collaborating with an array of galvanizing musicians across a wide array of creative rock, jazz and alternative scenes, he’s probably best known as the catalyst behind the witty and inviting prog-jazz sextet Herculaneum.

Boasting a sonic vision that stretches to the far horizon, Sky Bleached draws on many of Ryan’s varied experiences, but Sand instantly establishes itself as wild and wooly creature in its own right.

Featuring guitarist Tim Young, a versatile player sought out by artists such as Fiona Apple, John Zorn and Beck, and bassist Devin Hoff who’s toured and recorded extensively with the Nels Cline Singers, Xiu Xiu, Good For Cows and Joshua Redman, the Los Angeles-based trio restlessly ranges between moods, textures and styles. For Ryan, the project provided an ideal opportunity for exploring contrasting, even antithetical impulses, juxtaposing introspective odes with aggressive anthems, artfully composed passages and impromptu flights.

"I had the idea to write songs for a jazz band that had elements of Black Sabbath, the Cure, Jaco-era Joni Mitchell, and free jazz. I intentionally made the free playing and the composed sections less compartmentalized. The idea is to have a really great sounding rhythm section that can stretch out and make music spontaneously, and naturally together. Sand is a jazz band, but it reflects the different things I grew up on and listen to; It reflects the fact that I am playing jazz, but that I wasn't born in 1945." – Dylan Ryan.

Sky Bleached press release

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For press and media: cover art and high resolution images are available below for download (click thumbnail, right-click image and select "Save As.."). Please credit the photographer (when available) and "Courtesy of Cuneiform Records". For more information, click here.

Sky Bleached
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Circa press release
Sky Bleached press release

12/21/2013: Cuneiform Year in Review: 2013
5/29/2013: Cuneiform Artists Tour the USA West Coast Summer (May-Sept) 2013
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