Unconventional Utterance: William Ryan Fritch & Aliceffekt

It’s 2:00 AM, the precise moment in time where rational minds tend to falter into uncharted domain. Frankly, I was editing my bookmarks and sorting through things I had saved 2 or more years ago. I opened up a few bookmarks on new tabs and started exhuming what I had buried away.

First up was William Ryan Fritch Empty EP. I had this wondrous wave of nostalgic contentment that threw me back into the depths of my chair with my arms thrown up in the air.

My absolute favourite is at the 01:25 mark of the track, Tend, whereby it emulates a sense of allatonceness, a difficult and rare encounter where everything is perceived, where something significant is either felt or realized.

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It seems there is only a pocketful of artists capable of forging such unique sounds. It almost feels like a misdeed to designate “unique” to describing the cryptic, esoteric nature of W.R. Fritch’s work.

Fritch’s Lost Tribe Sound series is something that truly accentuates the discrepancy between languages in music – some are referential and symbolic while others are performative in the way that they enact reality through lyrical and rhythmic means. It’s your autonomy entirely to decide which side W.R. Fritch is on.

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Music, personally, has always been more of an experience than a component that must be consumed and subsequently digested. Of course, this is a grey area, as the twenty-first century melded commerce and art into one with the outcome being artoccupy the same space.

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Second on my bookmark was, David Mondou-Labbe, a Quebecois game designer and musician with many aliases, but best known by the pseudonym Aliceffekt. My first encounter with his work trails back to when I bought a copy of Hiversairesan iOS point-and-click, puzzle adventure game focused on delivering an impressionistic experience, in 2013. I was drawn in by the monochromatic architectural design and the strangely neutral (I mean it in the context that it evokes neither melancholy nor jubilation) soundtrack that accompanied my journey in Hiversaires.

Committed to finding more song tracks of Hiversaires, I typed in “hiversaires aliceffekt” on Youtube, and came across Aliceffekt’s Li Aitasla Solei, an original composition completely bereft of orthodox musical form. It has points of neither introduction, nor culmination, nor denouement.

Aliceffekt’s Nataniev’s Theme, is mostly empty, almost nil. It has deliberate gaps inserted throughout the track that defines pure, uninterrupted void.

While Aliceffekt’s other tracks are on the heavier side of avant-garde, his musical work uniformly maintain some familiar industrial stylistics. Nonetheless, nothing comes to mind when I think of what exact genre Aliceffekt’s work belongs to.

Needless to say, W.R. Fritch and Aliceffekt are independent genres of their own. Perhaps the notion of genre, as much as it is a stark remnant of our uncontrollable urge to categorize and understand, should be dispelled. Because sometimes, it’s better to listen without your mind deciding what genres you should or should not listen to. And maybe 2:00 AM is the optimum time to do so.

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