William Wytold Lebing has broken barriers with the ingenuity of the electric cello. His original compositions are as penetrative as melodies woven from the acoustic guitar and as intriguing as arrangements embroidered by an ensemble of violins. His recording, Fireflies, Fairies, and Squids, interpolates elements of Celtic folk, ethereal pop, and jazz-inspired improvisations. The combination germinates a meadow of ambient soundwaves.
Tender and poised, Wytold’s cello has the voicing of an angelic specter gliding across “Dawn Violet” and bolsters a whimsical country dance atmosphere through “Ailey Rolls.” The cello turns somber and eloquent along “Trust Me” as though Wytold is crafting meaningful soliloquies translated into music. The pleasing aesthetics have a Celtic tint, reminding audiences of the romantic lure of Baroque music. It stands to reason that Wytold illustrates melodic sensibilities, which mirror such musical influences as Baroque music’s Johann Pachelbel and Jean-Baptiste Lully.
“Chasm” is a dulcet piece, inlaid in gentle swivels reminiscent of a childhood lullaby. The recording travels into the balladry pulse of the cello in “Water Tom,” haloed by an Oriental accent in the rhythmic pattern which continues along “Let the Light in,” braided in wispy cello riffs. The timbres of Wytold’s cello and Jerry Tolk’s banjo turn light and bubbly through “Sweet Heartbeat” while maintaining a prayer-like vigil in the undertow. The sorrowful sentiment emoted from the cello along “Sincere” is moving and illuminates a glint of hope through the heavy-toned shadows of Tolk’s guitar chords. Accompanied by Chelle Fulk’s fiddle, Wytold’s composition articulates human emotions.
The crux of “Fireflies” harnesses dual textures, depicted by the freestyle expressions of the cello anchored by the weighty throbs of Ethan Foote’s double-bass. Gina Sobel’s flute swirls and elegantly quivers across “Giant Squids,” kneading into Foote’s throbbing bass and producing an intensity that’s magnetic. The clip-clopping beats of “I Arrow” are interlaced in the feathery strands of Fulk’s fiddle, wandering unhampered and forming melodic motifs that capture the imagination.
Capturing the imagination is a prominent factor of Wytold’s music. His recording has gorgeous soundscapes interspersed with the weighty throbs of the double-bass and the free-flowing musings of the fiddle, guitar, and flute. Fireflies, Fairies, and Squids is an album with world music influences both stemming from the past and the present.
Wytold – cello, Ethan Foote – double bass, Chelle Fulk – Celtic fiddle, Gina Sobel – flute and alto saxophone, Jerry Tolk – guitar and banjo
“Chasm,” “Water Tom,” “Let the LIght in,” “Sweet Heartbeat,” “Sincere,” “When the World Breaks Open,” “Fireflies,” “I Arrow, Giant Squids,” “Or If There Was a Why,” “Dawn Violet,” “Ailey Rolls,” “Trust Me”