Before I ride off into the sunset I though it best to mention these releases from the Lost Tribe Sound label. LTS is the type of label that extends tself and challenges itself to the hilt year in, year out. Series such as “Fearful Void”, “We Stayed The Path That Fell To Shadow” and “Prelude to the Decline” have been ambitious statements from both the label and the artists. Currently over the half way mark in their latest series, 2021 sees releases from MT Went (which includes Seabuckthorn), From The Mouth Of The Sun, Gallowglas, William Ryan Fritch / Vieo Abiungo, Sailcloth and William Ryan Fritch once more. I cast my ears over two of their most recent releases from Several Wives and William Ryan Fritch.
“Veil on Veil is the fourth album from experimental act, Several Wives. Veil on Veil continues the deeply cathartic explorations into doom, electro-acoustic, and outsider classical that have become synonymous with their work.
Several Wives is undoubtedly the most enigmatic artist Lost Tribe Sound has attempted to pair words with. The more one struggles to describe it, the more it evades. Words like dark, sinister, disturbing only seem to address a surface understanding of the dynamics at play, as with each listen new emotions are revealed like half-remembered days of a haunted childhood.
Veil on Veil presents an amorphous sound, somewhere between a solid and liquid. Depending on your mood going in, it can take you down various pathways (like when your friend told you, stay positive and this trip won’t turn sour). This is music that heavily invites a narrative without being beholden to it. It finds just as much satisfaction bathing in its own filth as it does bringing its believers to the light. It’s music made of dungeonous booms and clatter exquisitely paired with sepia-toned strings and other cloaked sonics.”
Quite simply the scariest artist name that comes to mind, Several Wives offer up thirteen dissonant, clanging, cinematic slices of ritual like dark ambience, hauntological discoveries and occasional dashing’s of folk shone through an experimental prism. They are quite hard to put a label on as while there is a certain through line encompassing most of the pieces, they still maintain their own identity. Just when you think you have an idea a track like the almost Scorn-like “Copycat” throws you off the scent. Even after finishing listening I am none the wiser to what I have just listened to. It feels like a bunch of stylistic influences have been absorbed, mutated and then transmitted through Several Wives.
As usual the album comes in the packaging that Lost Tribe Sound have become known for with a CD/Book package, thereby proving that they want to make the releases something more tangible than just an experience. “Veil on Veil” is available on limited CD and Digital.
“Solidum, is an album of unexpected stillness and negative space from William Ryan Fritch, a composer most known for his lush, dense arrangements that teem with a raw kinetic sense of energy.
Typical Fritch records are chock-full of hyper-textural sound, where mechanical noise and small idiosyncrasies of each instrument become an integral part of the music’s character. By contrast, Solidum uses a colder and more rounded sound palette that relies on PZM and boundary mics to capture the upright piano, cello, violin, and harp bowed with rosined fishing line and blend them with digital piano and A Roland JX-3p. This gives the muted acoustics an unnatural smoothness and a pitchy quaver that makes the listener question what is synthesized and what is not. The creative impetus was to see what sense of emotionality and sincerity could be achieved without relying on Fritch’s familiar aesthetic of tactile and vulnerable sounds.
The title Solidum comes from the Latin phrase “in Solidum,” meaning “for the whole.” It’s a mentality that must somehow prevail, at a time when there is less of a sense of closeness than there has been at any point in recent memory.”
Fritch never seems to rest and with an output such as his you would expect some of the quality to dip. But so far there has yet to be seen any indication that this may occur. As the press notes above elude to space is very much a key component to the twenty-one (!) movements that make up “Solidum” and it shows with Fritch creating a less is more approach to the pieces. Possibly the closest thing I have heard from him that approaches a Modern Classical framework, the album enhances his reputation as an artist that has a strong grasp of the cinematic approach to music which makes him a sought after film/tv/advertising composer. There is a coldness as well as a long drawn out approach which gives the pieces room to breathe and space to evolve.
If anything “Solidum” shows that Fritch is not limited to a particular style and within releases is able to gently steer the music slightly off the path and open up the vision. A perfect example of this is “Movement XVII” which explores minimal terrains that eventually blossom into full blown almost post metal-ish roars. Naturally over the case of twenty-one tracks and more than an hours duration there is a lot to take in, but what you discover is that the music is shockingly consistent with no particular track standing out, which I guess means that the title is very much fitting.
As per the Several Wives album “Solidum” comes in an elaborate packing which is down to its last handful of copies and Digital. It is also very much recommended.