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william ryan fritch - revisionist (cd)




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ARTIST // william ryan fritch
LABEL // lost tribe sound (us)
CAT // lts019cd


  



'Revisionist', the latest record from composer William Ryan Fritch (Vieo Abiungo), brings an emphatic close to his incredibly prolific 2014. Mere months after the release of Death Blues 'Ensemble'-his powerhouse collaboration with drummer and new music ringleader Jon Mueller-Fritch has produced his most focused and dynamic work yet. Energized by the collaboration with Mueller (Volcano Choir), the otherwise self-sufficient multi-instrumentalist surrendered his auterist sensibilities, seeking creative alliances with Benoit Pioulard, D.M. Stith, Origamibiro and Esme Patterson. The results are scintillating. From the elegant minimalism of “Winds" (produced by Pioulard) or the exultant vocals of “Gloaming Light" (performed by D.M. Stith), these inspired partnerships take Fritch's instrumentation and craft to new destinations, employ new techniques, and further it's immediacy and appeal.

Fritch writes, “Our physical laws do not in fact generate anything. They serve only to describe regularities and consistent relationships in nature. I embrace the notion of there being no immutable truth, that in its absence is an endlessly nuanced and novel experiential universe which-by eclipsing our feeble processing-leaves us innervated, enthusiastic of our unknowing." This echoes the aching shimmer of “Impostors," in which he sings: “To hear the sounds that you thought to be true, twisted and out of tune/ you must force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve you long after they are gone." Those of us who know Fritch from his explosive instrumental music will be startled by his fragile, supple voice, which glides and undulates over the compositions with melodious confidence, adding another compelling dimension to his ornate sound world.

He continues, “The record explores the psychology of revisionism: how we forget evil, distort it, skim past it, papering over those aspects of history we find uncomfortable." This way the tense, physical, and oxidized “Infant Sight" lands like a blow to the gut: “Can I forget all these burns? Oh to see again with infant eyes, to revel in such virgin sights/ I am too tired to start looking again." Fritch has gradually made a name for himself through his peerless ability to build strange, looming musical architecture, seemingly the Babel project of a dozen artists and processes, but indeed nothing more than the sound of one expert journeyman and his live acoustic instrumentation. His kaleidoscopic array of layered sound is still foremost, but now more than ever his savant's orchestration serves the song structure, not the reverse.

The artwork adorning Revisionist's deluxe vinyl art booklet is the work of celebrated Brazilian artist João Raus. His work Arachne depicts the Greco Roman myth of a great weaver who insulted and bested Athena with her great skill, only to have her work torn to shreds and be condemned to live out her days ever-weaving as a spider. Ruas's work itself is ripped into ribbons and collaged into arresting imagery that beautifully complements and enhances the album's unique musical amalgam.

Accompanying 'Revisionist' are two contrasting EPs that serve as illuminating appendices to its aural aesthetic. 'Heavy' and 'Empty' are raw and unfiltered explorations of the distinct contrasting elements at play in the LP. 'Heavy' showcases a dense and propulsive maximalism that marked so many of Fritch's early recordings as Vieo Abiungo, but realized with the evocative production and ruddy, unkempt western sound pallet of his most recent work. While 'Empty' is a work of patience and restraint, a look forward in many ways to the expressive and dynamic power uncovered by simplifying and paring down his ambitious, large scale works. Together these recordings are a formidable display of craft and skill from a composer no longer stymied by his expansive range, but empowered by it.