Didn’t know it’d be so rough
The aura is so different
In those places we had gone
It’s a far away feeling
A hollow in my heart
Ronnie Stone inhabits a unique niche in time, marrying the retrospective with a prescient edge, delivering synth-pop that is at once nostalgically engaging and briskly modern. This New York City mainstay, a mammoth talent in production and musicianship, operates from a clandestine studio, encircled by a veritable arsenal of 1980s synthesizers, producing dance-pop jewels that resonate with both the flamboyant and the introspective.
His most recent offering, the wistful Riding In The Rain (via Chicago’s Feeltrip Records), mines the auditory stylings of Italo-disco and pays homage to seminal ’80s groups such as The Cars, Pet Shop Boys, and Depeche Mode, employing beloved instruments like the Korg M1 and the Juno-106 to forge arresting melodies and vibrant bass lines. The end product is a dance-inducing symphony, rich in harmony, that conjures a world tinged with the sweet pangs of romance and a wistful undercurrent.
Although nostalgic and light sounding, the narrative of the lyrics punches you square in the gut. Navigating his hometown’s transformed streets, a man grapples with a deep sense of alienation and despair in the wake of a departure. Familiar places now seem distant, tinged with sorrow. He rides under relentless rain, confronting the pain and change, haunted by memories and a future irrevocably altered.
“Riding In The Rain is about loss and heartbreak, about feeling like an outsider in your own hometown, and the sense of feeling trapped as the world changes around you,” says Stone. “As I was writing this song, I was thinking about movies such as Taxi Driver, Say Anything. There is a vivid section of Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where the narrator (Phaedrus) describes riding his motorcycle straight into a torrential downpour. This imagery was on my mind when writing this song.”
(For the uninitiated, Robert M. Pirsig’s 1974 novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a profound tale that weaves together a cross-country motorcycle trip with philosophical discussions. It explores the metaphysical concepts of quality and examines life’s complexities through the lens of a father-son relationship, all while presenting a modern take on the ancient Greek philosophy.)
The music video for Riding In The Rain, a visual narrative lensed and orchestrated by Rosa Luna, plumbs the depths of heartbreak and the accompanying sensation of stasis amidst the relentless march of change. Rendered in a palette of saturated technicolor, the video invites viewers into Ronnie Stone’s reimagined nocturnal Manhattan, its streets awash in the seedy glow of neon reminiscent of the 1970s. You’re in the driver’s seat now.
Ride Again stands as the Stone’s zenith of ten years, steeped in the penumbral corners of nightclubs and the raw energy of warehouse soirées. It’s a crucible of those solitary, revelatory moments on the dance floor; a confluence where New Wave meets the rhythmic, irrepressible pulse of techno and house.
In the nascent stages of 2022, Ronnie, along with his stage counterpart, Rosa Luna, marked a rousing initiation of their first coast-to-coast tour across the United States. This duo is steadfast in their devotion to creating an immersive context for their performances and artistry. Enveloped in fog and bathed in carefully choreographed lighting, they transport their audiences directly into the heart of Ronnie’s imagined retro-futuristic club scene.
Ride Again will be out on February 2nd, 2024 on Feeltrip Records.
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