Solidum does a 360 and flips William Ryan Fritch’s music around. In the past, Fritch’s compositions have tended to lean more towards active and physically-fit sounds as well as a thick catalogue of sources and instruments, but the breadth of his discography only highlights his diversity and scope as a composer. Solidum is an altogether different animal, opposing anything he’s previously released. Fritch has always been a musical innovator, and Solidum continues this trend in fine fashion. It’s colder, sleeker, and feels more disciplined than anything else, thanks mostly to its reserved mood.
Fritch uses boundary mics and PZM to capture piano, cello, violin, and harp, along with a digital piano and a Roland JX-3P synthesizer. The sounds fall into line, obeying the rules of the music; it isn’t full of a frenzied energy like normal, nor does it display any euphoria or hyperactivity, but it does feel more grounded, reserved, and that’s more than fine.
Solidum has reached full maturity, and its thoughtful sound is able to shine through much more effectively than it would in a crowded instrumental space. Cold without being harsh or authoritarian, the music is in realist-mode, and the addition of silence creates a crucial sense of space. Silence is just as important as the notes which entwine themselves around it, and Fritch knows that it is an essential (and underused) element. The cold light of a Winter morning seeps through and infiltrates the notes in the same way that the cold crawls into the bones of a skeleton. Notes are like fogged-up clouds of exhaled breath, lingering before dying.
Fritch has always composed music of incredible focus, and this has only increased with Solidum. It goes in a new direction, and as such, it’s able to feel real and engaging, its sober tone befitting of the year.