DJ to Watch: Ryan Browne
March 12, 2020
March 12, 2020
Chris Wilson, better known as Riot Ten, has been on an incredible roll in recent years. With support from the likes of Excision, Sullivan King, Steve Aoki, Zeds Dead, Porter Robinson, and so many more, it would be an understatement to say that Riot Ten is a rising star. Rather, he is already a bona fide headliner, mainstay, and fan-favorite. While his extensive discography certainly speaks for itself, his brand-new debut album, Hype or Die: Nightmares—out now on Dim Mak—is indisputably some of his best work yet.
When you press play on this album, Riot Ten will immediately hit you with an infectious burst of energy. But first, let’s make sure you’re ready for this. While you may be expecting a dubstep track to kick things off, you’ll have to wait a little longer for that. Instead, Chris quickly flexes his versatility, as he reminds us that he is capable of so much more than just dubstep anthems. As much as we all loved “Rail Breaker” and “F**k It,” a thundering theme throughout this album is this: Riot Ten is an impeccable talent of many, many genres. Now, with that in mind, let’s get started.
In the intro track of Hype or Die: Nightmares, Riot Ten creates absolute “Mayhem,” as he adds two new genres to his storied repertoire: hardstyle and drumstep. Simply put, the first 90 seconds of the album are nonstop energy. As we alluded to earlier, this phenomenal fusion of hype and variety will resonate throughout the rest of the album as well. As a matter of fact, one need not look further than the next few tracks, “Glocks,” “HYPHY,” and “Bodies.”
While “Glocks,” unloads an arsenal of styles and sounds, “HYPHY,” is an instant hit, especially among headbangers. If you’re looking for another “Rail Breaker,” or something similar to it, then “HYPHY” might just be the perfect song for you.
“Bodies,” meanwhile, reminds us of Riot Ten’s formative years in the hybrid trap scene. At the same time, however, “Bodies” is also evidence of Wilson’s artistic growth, as every drop in the track features a different version of his signature sound. Needless to say, this steady evolution within the song is proof that Chris is continuously developing his sound, always striving to make his music the best it can be. This, of course, is just the beginning.
Next, with quintessential 808s, Chris conjures up two trap classics, “Freaky” and “No Ceilings.” As one would imagine, both of these tunes are sure to be played in countless clubs all around the world. Then, in the “Freaky” VIP—later in the album—Riot Ten takes things to another level as he fuses the original mix of “Freaky” with his signature sound, which ultimately results in an incredible mix of trap, house, and dubstep.
Speaking of dubstep, “Showdown” is an experience in and of itself. With a hearty amount of hype from Atarii, Riot Ten and Throwdown bring the house down with a wicked whirlwind of wet, wild, and wonderful sound design. As if those elements weren’t enough, there are also several flows within this epic “Showdown,” which collectively keep the track captivating and fresh from start to finish.
Yet another example of versatility, “Never Win” with blvckhvrt is an intriguing addition to Hype or Die: Nightmares. With a timeless soundscape, chill ambiance, vibrant vocals, catchy hooks, and an impeccable beat behind it, “Never Win” is definitely a winner in our books. What’s more, even though it is unlike any other song on the album, it still fits the bill beautifully, especially because it is paving the path for something very, very special.
For the final song of Hype or Die: Nightmares, Riot Ten has given us a gorgeous gift. The titular track of the album, “Nightmares (Alone in the Dark),” is cinematic, scintillating, and simply divine. In it, one will find enchanting acoustic guitar, haunting but heavenly vocal samples, a crisp, clean beat, and so much more.
Suffice it to say, the musical talent of Chris Wilson is absolutely incredible. With unparalleled versatility, awe-inspiring authenticity, and unconditional excellence, Hype or Die: Nightmares is a ten-track masterclass; and, in our estimation, one of the most impressive debut albums in a long, long time.