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William Ryan Fritch is known to many for his soundtrack work for films (on titles such as The Waiting Room), but Ill Tides is entirely its own thing. These songs are closely-designed things, with harps and strings and experimental textures. Released by Lost Tribe Sound as part of their Dead West Tape Series. Edition of 100.

Tape £8.99

Dead West Tape Series cassette on Lost Tribe Sound. Edition of 100 hand-numbered copies.

  • Includes download code
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Ill Tides by William Ryan Fritch
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8/10 Robin Staff review, 26 October 2016

The prolific and maximalist WIlliam Ryan Fritch here confines the massive scope of his music to a wee little tape called ‘Ill Tides’. It’s hard to imagine someone who has so much going on in his classically-motivated and peak-scaling post-rock arrangements fitting onto such a small thing, but this tape gives you more of the same: a trembling amassing of gorgeous guitar tones, choral affectations and groan drone bring about an expedition, a behemoth, a whatever the biggest word you can think of is.

Just beautiful, folks: I love hearing “Recoiled” unravel from its steamy production, bringing about these slow string figures that can barely carry the weight of the song, with fragile guitar picks rumbling their way to the fore. He’s so good at offering you the perspective of the music, of showing you what’s happening in the distance in reference to what’s happening from your vantage point. For an artist known to suspend instrumentation in air until it becomes an abyss of tension, he also knows his way around a gorgeous melody or two: “Burdensome” has an exponentially worrisome ambient backdrop but couples it with a lamenting acoustic guitar and a pushy shaken beat.

I need not go on, to be honest: this record is swelling with its local environment and consumed by what’s to come, mixing hints of songwriting with faraway drone ‘til your stomach is nothing but the butterflies. Be afraid, but love it.


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