Quiet Design

As you’ve probably realized by now, I’m a sucker for genuine drones (Niblock to Mirror to Organum, in decreasing order of orgasmic consequence) as opposed to workstation-fuelled, fake-guru dilettantism. Duane Pitre is a composer who deserves to be kept under close observation, since he’s been developing a highly personal style even though one can recognize a number of influences in his work. The 40 minutes of this disc offer a realization of a so-called long-tone composition named “ED09”, recorded on December 4, 2008 at New York’s Roulette by a group of 21 musicians (playing violins, violas, cellos, contrabasses, flute, clarinets, saxes and trombone) plus the leader himself conducting and occasionally applying an eBow to the strings of a guitar. The piece is partially composed, making use of fixed pitch classes, yet includes several unrehearsed decisions, often determined by “spontaneous conduction”, hand gestures adjusting the overall flow in different directions. Niblock is evoked during static passages (though with less clashing of the upper partials and a higher degree of concordance), but this stuff also breathes slowly and crawls gracefully towards climaxes, where stirring clusters and overlaid suspended chords induce moments of temporary amnesia, a hundred white-winged Tony Conrads pointing fingers at an imprecise region of the sky above. Music to cause recurrent states of virtual enlightenment, conscious acceptance of otherwise unendurable events, it’s the best I’ve heard from Pitre to date.

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