Fluid regulars probably know William Ryan Fritch as the creative mind behind the genre-defying, world-music inspired act Vieo Abiungo. A preternaturally talented composer and multi-instrumentalist, Fritch has proven time and again that he has a deft hand for developing stirring, emotional, music that can be truly considered unique amongst his contemporaries. As Vieo Abiungo, Fritch makes a virtue out of creating dense arrangements that take on a veritable smorgasbord of inspirations, mashing them together to create bewitching amalgams of sound. His is an arresting and idiosyncratic musical vision, but not one which you would think of using to accompany another form of media. Fritch’s music is normally so bold and striking that its hard to imagine it ‘accompanying’ anything…it’s chaotic, mesmerising lines would be so distracting and attention grabbing that they would, one assumes, eventually overpower mere film.
At this point, it should be noted, that I haven’t seen ‘The Waiting Room’ – the documentary for which Fritch has created this music – and therefore can’t comment on how well the music works ‘in context’, but what I can say is that the tunes contained in this soundtrack represent a new side to his output. Gone are the dense sound collages of his Vieo Abiungo material and in their place is left a much more focused set of material. Tracks seem to have clearer ‘thematic’ strokes propelling them forward and it is as though, in creating this soundtrack, Fritch has stripped away much of the sonic busyness of his previous catalogue, leaving us with the distilled essence of his musical vision. For those already familiar with Fritch’s previous work, there is much here that remains familiar; unpretentious strings, clattering percussion, rumbling droney underpinnings, and uncanny melodies – but there’s something more refined, more mature (?) about this collection that gives it a higher replayability…it’s as if the listener can, perversely, find more to discover in these more restrained arrangements than in the dense layers of his other work.
It seems clear that William Ryan Fritch is incapable of making “wallpaper” music…every note here conveys an urgency and immediacy that is sonically engaging and pulls the listener in to its orbit. I certainly can imagine these tracks working as a soundtrack to an outstanding film (anything mediocre would simply be swallowed by this soundtrack) but even if you never intend on seeing the film for which this music was written, you should do yourself a favour and get the album – I assure you that a) you won’t be able to believe that this is the work of just one man, and b) it’s a stunning collection of music that you will find yourself returning to again and again.