"I want to push forward in a lot of directions," Sam Ray told FADER in a recent profile of his morphing Ricky Eat Acid project, just one of dozens of his aliases, but arguably the one with the beats flying closest to the sun. And he sticks to that principle of change here, on "Context," the A-side of a new single out January 20th on Canvasclub, a singles offshoot of an Atlantic offshoot. Thirty seconds of ambient scribbles open the track, followed by a threat of drum & bass that instead turns out to be a smooch from a nervous hi-hat, then, eventually, a helium rap. Your brain does a flip and lands back in place.
Over email, Ray says the song "represents someone or something reaching their hands up to try and touch God and falling short, over and over again," an image he likens to making music in the first place. "I just want to make music that doesn't sound like any music I've ever heard before. I want to make something fun. It's almost a bigger challenge as an artist to make something legitimately fun while maintaining a strong sense of purpose. It's a challenge to try and push boundaries without sacrificing whatever it is that makes your music resonant with people." And then he gets a bit down: "I guess most music is Sisyphean in nature. The very act of creating art is Sisyphean in nature. This song is just more overtly so because its entire premise is that creating music or art is Sisyphean in nature. Even the title is kind of in reference to it. I guess it's recursive in that way."
For yet another turn, look out for his B-side, "Walking Around a Garden at Night," which he says is "music for smoking weed in your car at night, and it aims to sound like music that you would smoke weed to in your car at night."