William Ryan Fritch: Kaleidoscope
Lost Tribe Sound

The indefatigably prolific William Ryan Fritch (aka Vieo Abiungo) returns with a thirty-one-minute piece adapted from a score he composed for visual artist Jessy Nite's live installation Under the Scope. For the Chalk Miami Beach project (presented in December, 2012), a large kaleidoscope was affixed to a street sidewalk such that users could spin it and project visuals onto one of Miami Beach's historic Art Deco buildings. As Nite's projections displayed huge swirling compositions of jewels, drugs, and colour, the Oakland, California-based Fritch would seem to have been a perfect match, given the kaleidoscopic richness of instrumental colour with which he invests his own work.

Multi-instrumentalist Fritch performed all of the music except for a two-minute section that appears halfway through and features percussion by Jon Mueller (apparently he and Fritch have been working on a new project called Death Blues Ensemble and are planning on a 2013 album release). Rather than being an uninterrupted half-hour work, Kaleidoscope instead includes a number of episodes of contrasting mood wedded into the larger whole. Listeners familiar with Fritch's previous output will be met once again with resplendent, full-bodied tapestries of acoustic shimmer assembled from strings, harps, glockenspiels, percussion, and piano, as well as less common instruments such as the sarangi and ehru. The work takes an unexpected turn at the thirteen-minute mark where the swoop of an e-bow guitar adds a somewhat Robert Fripp-styled tone to the project, but Kaleidoscope otherwise includes all of the elements that have distinguished Fritch's work in the past. In certain passages, a rustic folk character infuses the music's oft-dreamlike flow, whereas other sections are more in the style of moody film soundtrack composition. And though this latest remarkable creation by Fritch is multi-episodic, it culminates in a grandiose swirl of strings and horns that helps give the work a more formalized shape as a singular entity.

February 2013