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With his father in a successful band and having Sonny and Cher for godparents, it seemed inevitable that young Ryeland would embrace the music industry. But even from such auspicious beginnings, few would have foreseen the dramatic trajectory that Ryeland Allison's career would eventually take.
Family connections enabled Ryeland to benefit from the talent and experience of some of the biggest artists of the '70s. Jam sessions with the likes of The Monkees, Keith Moon, Elton John and Ringo Starr were as commonplace for the young protégé as trips to the ballpark were for his peers. And by the time he reached double figures, Ryeland was a proficient enough percussionist to make his recording debut on Ronnie Hawkins' 'The Hawk'.
As a new decade dawned, so did a new chapter in Ryeland's burgeoning career. Having realized the potential of computers in music production, Ryeland began experimenting with Apple computers and synthesizers. By the time he graduated from the Newbridge school in 1985, Ryeland was drumming regularly for two bands, including The Motion, with whom he recorded two songs for a CBS television pilot.
Although he continued to enjoy performing live, the late '80s brought an explosion in music production technology that Ryeland found impossible to ignore. By the end of the decade he'd broadened his skill-set to encompass a number of new production tools such as digital sampling, MIDI, modular synthesis and sequencing software.
After further forays with academia, Ryeland was thrown in at the deep end of professional studio production. In 1990, he began working as an assistant engineer to multi Grammy and Emmy award-winning composer Mike Post. Together they worked on a number of seminal 90s TV shows, including L.A. Law and Law & Order.
Post was just one of many big names to help Ryeland refine his style. Through Ray Colcord and Jeff Rona, Ryeland began a long-lasting relationship with Hans Zimmer, for whom he performed drums for sample library sessions. This soon developed into full production and compositional tasks for major films such as Broken Arrow and Drop Zone. Meanwhile, Ryeland was co-developing the Distorted Reality sample library alongside Eric Persing of Roland. Distorted Reality would eventually become one of the biggest selling sample CD-ROMs of all time, with Zimmer himself utilizing its various textures and effects in The Fan.
By the turn of the millennium, Ryeland had worked alongside some of the biggest names in the film industry, composing and programming for films as diverse as Antz, Face/Off and Speed 2. But not content with merely conquering Hollywood, Ryeland returned to his music industry roots to co-produce rock superstars Tool in their collaboration with The Melvins for the Crybaby album. An eponymous solo electronic album followed shortly after, as did a debut album for his group ambr.sea.
Ryeland's aptitude for producing electronic music soon got him noticed within the industry. In 2001, he began a successful collaboration with DJ/producer Dave Dresden, then and now one of the biggest names in the electronic music scene. Together they performed under the A.llison D.resden D.uo and Attention Deficit monikers, remixing a genre-bending array of acts, ranging from trance superstars Armin van Buuren and BT to pop soloists Kelis and Peaches. Ryeland worked on a number of solo projects around this time too, releasing a single on Teknology Records and producing a remix for Hybrid's Y4K compilation album in 2004.
Keen to venture outside the confines of the studio, Ryeland toured, recorded and performed with a number of bands and orchestras throughout the United States. This included performances with his own band ambr.sea, as well as in the Hans Zimmer Orchestra for the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End at Disneyland. As a resident with Zimmer's Remote Control Productions, Ryeland's film work continued unabated. A cursory glance at the credits for the past decade's highest grossing films reveals just how far his influence has spread: Inception, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Green Lantern… You'd be hard pressed to find a blockbuster that hasn't been touched by Ryeland's programming or composition in recent years. Look closely and you might even see him popping up on-screen, playing bit parts in films such as Pirates 3, It's Complicated and As Good As It Gets. Even with these turns in front of the camera, Ryeland Allison remains truly committed to creating moving and memorable soundscapes and productions for the enjoyment music and film lovers worldwide. Where this passion takes him next is anyone's guess.
Written by Gordon Stribling