Following her Berklee days Martha became very interested in the fractals and computers in general and spent much less time playing music with others. She did spend a lot of time working out a method for very rapid overlapping piano patterns that had a very trance inducing character - she filled up a big binder with notes about these ideas. We did do a couple of projects with her playing the beat up piano at my apartment in South Boston where she utilized this technique. I made two CDs from several recording sessions of us reacting to the Fractals while Martha used her pattern technique which are out as the Fractal Trance Ensemble - The Mandelbrot Set and the Julia Set. Several months later we did a session together with Thom Jones who added tapes, noises and other sounds to a very special and unique item in the Evil Clown Catalog. This performance has the videographic score image along with the sound from our interpretation recorded to video (which will come out soon on YouTube). The audio portion was released as Free Trance Ensemble - Fractal Suite Vol 1 &2.
PEK - 7/19/2015
Fractal Trance Ensemble CDs
I met Martha at Berklee. She had wanted to attend for her entire life, but didn't get around to it until her 50s. She was already a gifted pianist - having gigged in upstate New York and performing at church services every week for decades. Her reading and interpretation skills with written music are extraordinary and she did very well in the Berklee system. She had just spent a year or two working in Hong Kong.
We became good friends and spent a lot of time together. We played some very out duets from the Real Book for a while, which was fun. She has a huge heart and loves to help people. She provided a lot of assistance to Masashi Harada and Raqib Hassib in the early 90s and later to me - helping to write proposals, manage promotion, research things on the computer and anything else she could think of to do.
We both finished up at Berklee at around the same time and Martha took a job as a legal secretary in downtown Boston. She began helping me prepare Expansions, a large composed work of mine which included video elements, tape preparation and a whole slew of other stuff. During this period we discovered the program Fractint written for the DOS environment. We spent an enormous amount of time preparing fractals with the program - I would write formulas and then zoom around the resulting image to find interesting areas and then Martha would frame them , color them and organize them.
Martha Ritchey Bio
The fractal obsession lasted us 3 or 4 years and has a lasting impact on me and Evil Clown. All of the Evil Clown albums include one or more fractals in the artwork and Martha is credited on every one of them for Fractal Artwork. We also set up a video mixing rig which allowed us to use two computers, each showing animated (color cycling) fractal images. It took 3 people to run it, one to run each computer, and one to run the video mixing console, but we could hook it up to a projector or a system of monitors and show a real time computer graphic mix which could respond to the music as well as contribute.
We did two different things with the images we created on the mixing rig. We did it in real time with DJs at Avalon, a huge club next to Fenway Park and a huge overnight rave. Raffi, my artist friend who has created the Sparkles artwork for Evil Clown produced these events and got world-class DJs to participate.
Free Trance Ensemble CDs
Martha was critical to the preparation of Expansions... from the proposal to the fractals to the publicity to the video elements...
Martha Ritchey Appears on the following Evil Clown titles:
The other thing we did was create mixes of fractals for projection with Leap of Faith from the organization of the materials we created for the series of performances at Avalon. Some of these were just generic mixes which could be used for any situation, but we also prepared several videographic scores where the motion of the images went from slow and smooth to so fast that your eye could barely track it. This particular score was performed a number of time by Leap of Faith, but also by the Seventh Generation Ensemble - a Mobius event organized by Tor Snyder which also included dance and Guadulesa'a performance painting. At some point later I asked Stu Vandermark to write something about Leap of Faith and he mentioned the videographic score...
On Metal Chaos Ensemble: "... using unique strategies to yield densely active and eerily surreal music, an incredible excursion through experimental improvisation." - Squidco website staff
On Leap of Faith: "Alien yet familiar, bizarre yet completely fascinating. Expanding, contracting, erupting, settling down, always as one force..." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG