William Ryan Fritch has been one of my closest friends for 11 or 12 years. In the last 12 months he has continued to build on his craft in a manner not unlike the previous decade, however his critical acclaim has increased exponentially. His recent Death Blues album with Jon Mueller gained considerable attention, and seems to have been a tipping point.

In our society it is no secret that "hard work pays off," but the way this adage plays out is dependent on many factors. And while Ryan's ceaseless and gargantuan swathes of "hard work" have always lead to personal, artistic, and spiritual gains his professional ascendence as an artist has been hard-won, and has only recently become manifest through the public rubric of this widely-accepted adage. He spent years playing and refining his craft learning to make instruments from all over the world sing out in his unique brand of ecstatic marvel; he spent years as part of the Sole-backing Skyrider Band honing his skills in patch-work studios, being gracefully refined by the crude fire of stages and circumstances not quite intended for his particular brand of performance; he earned an MFA at Mills studying composition and performance in a rigorous academic setting with Fred Frith; and when all the dues were paid, when he had spent easily two times Malcolm Gladwell's posit of ten thousand hours, he entered a career composing film scores taking on a workload that would have been enough to keep two full-time composers fully overworked at all times. At the same time Ryan Moved from the nearly-urban and slightly-cosmopolitan city of Oakland to the basically-rural and barely-suburban sprawl of Petaluma.

Without ever veering too far from his craft, Ryan has carved out an existence for himself that provides deep and meaningful satisfaction, and provides him with ample room to grow, develop his skills, and refine his craft. He has succeeded in the artist's game of self-realization in the internet age. Ryan has built a practice, a music, and a personal culture, by turning the computer into an integral part of the artistic process. In the same way that previous generations have shown us that the studio itself is an instrument Ryan represents a generation of musicians who are showing us that the complete and utter realization of a practice, a sound, a music, and a culture can arise from a single artist with a computer. And thus, the limits of artistry don't stop in the manipulations of the studio, but they extend all the way out into disruption of time and space that we commonly associate with computers and the internet.

To Ryan, learning instruments is less about mastering the established sonic capacities of objects, and moreso about developing a unique vocabulary to be deployed in an ever compendium of life's sounds. Instruments are not the first, nor the last component in Ryan's creation of music. They figure somewhere in between the conception of an any-and-all-instruments conception of a sound, and the studious and dedicated manipulation of recordings to create the desired effect. In his own words: "In the beginning I wasn't as great at any single instrument, and I was way more into the idea of fucking up the sound of an instrument to achieve what I was going for. I'm not like John Fahey. I'm not gonna be able to just tell a story word for word with a guitar." This inclination eventually grew to incorporate the computer, and the recording capabilities that come with it.

Ryan's use of the computer to disrupt time and space, his incredible collection of instruments, the rich and varied character of his recording equipment, and his incredibly proficient performance skills are all spun into their most ecstatic state and set in motion by a musical mind that is not bound by the apparent constraints of reality. Nearly everything you hear on Revisionist is the result of Ryan having an idea, figuring out how to play it, recording it, and then mixing/re-recording/remixing/reinterpreting/experimenting until the desired results are achieved. For instance the song 'Winds' features ten string parts, each recorded twenty times. Now, that doesn't mean it took twenty takes to get the right recording. It means that each of the ten string parts consists of twenty recordings mixed together to create a single sound.

To conceive of such a recording is one thing, but to have the dexterity, the patience, the proficiency and determination to execute it is another feat. It takes years and years of playing and listening to first conceive of the sound, and compose it. Then it takes thousands of hours of practice to develop the performance capacity to execute the sound. Then it takes hours to record the each individual part 20 times. And finally it takes a stately kind of patience and dozens of hours to mix all of those tracks and turn them into a clearly articulated idea that can travel directly into someone's consciousness. Quite simply, this kind of thinking never really existed before. Perhaps it existed theoretically, or it existed in part for rarified groups of individuals. But this is the first time in the history of humans that such a complex feat of disruption in time and space can take place in tandem with acts of self-realization. This is the first time that one person can create art like this.

"A true revisionist in practice, he reveals the mammoth power of technology in the towering monoliths of sound that populate his recordings in such rapid procession that the ground simply gives way to a higher plane, and we are transported."

We are truly people of an age of computers, and William Ryan Fritch represents an important order of artists in this era. This work brings nearly everything we might mark as distinction in previous eras into question. That is not because it discredits anything though, or posits itself as better. No. Ryan's work brings everything into question because it depicts, so clearly, that the achievement of great musical feats are simply the result of great studious minds and years and years of patience and practice in service of hours that cut minutes into seconds and reduce seconds into a series of notated spaces in which certain musical events can take place in tandem. Ryan's work proves that we all have the capacity for great and powerful musical creation, but so few of us will take the time to pursue what Ryan has pursued. And as much as five, ten, or twenty years may give you Ryan's skill set it will be too late. Because Ryan also indirectly reaffirms an ancient tenet of creatives: the sovereignty of life experience as the basis of all great artistic development. The reason that we will all eventually be able to achieve what Ryan achieves is only because he is doing it first, at the behest of none other than his impossible future self. It is only because Ryan, and others like him, will eventually leave the future behind that the rest of the world will have such easy access to the inherent potential of the circumstances we live in.

Revisionist is the eleventh in a series of records released with label Lost Tribe Sound. This final release in the series ends with a reworking of the first track Ryan recorded for the series. Here we find Esme Patterson as a featured vocalist providing a sirenic and sombre take on the duplicitous nature of life's seeming pauses. Pauses where time and space are suspended, pushed out too far to influence the creation of art and the mitigation of the shortcomings of human capacity in a world that birthed us, but forever forbids the idea that we are a part of it. Here in this space--in the actions that form his life as much as the actions that define his art--Ryan creates work that answers the question "who would you be if time and space couldn't hinder you?" In finding a way to fulfil his ideas of what music can be, Ryan has realized himself as an individual in the world. A true revisionist in practice, he reveals the mammoth power of technology in the towering monoliths of sound that populate his recordings in such rapid procession that the ground simply gives way to a higher plane, and we are transported. This music will give you whatever you bring to it, whether that's two ears with a number rating between them, or two ears hungry for transcendence is up to you.

William Ryan Fritch: Official Website / Facebook / Bandcamp