Pitre & Allen

The Seeker And The Healer

Given that humans seek and music can heal, it makes sense for the two to bounce ideas off each other – intermingling moods for tired minds; stable sounds for stable kinds. This is the first time I’ve heard Duane Pitre’s music and a collaboration with Brian Eno collaborator Simon Scott cements a certain credence as to how his work works in partnership.

Cory Allen is his (un)usual droning self, the Texas native a champion of paced, caricatural diatribes of contemporary classical music. If that sounds snuffing, it’s not meant to be – what I mean is he tempers sound into paradoxically serious encounters instrumentally. The Richard Skelton-ish guitar brandishing of Pitre is played off by spectral shades of intoxicating violin drone on “The Seeker”, the first side-long piece. How the elements corroborate together in a wavering dimensionality is really valuable to the ear. It’s as if the effect of it locks in your current emotions only for more sustainable ones to later arise. This vaulting of attention into bubbled zones is certainly satisfying, although a tad lightweight to begin with. I’m almost wishing for a thrust in instruments to appear in the foreground but as it is the mood remains one of delightful – none the less – pretense.

However the insistence improves tenfold, in cumulative fashion, by the time “The Healer” arrives. The swaying nature of the violin tremolo is brought into greater relief through subtle touches on the piano that don’t threaten to cloud the atmosphere. Where the piece could be accused of drifting and diluting itself, nascent drones counteract the tide and augment the palette with a timeless grace. It sounds like a trip to the therapist only to come back with an expensive coffee and a bag of skittles – a sugar rush that here transcends a childish grasp from techniques including replaying chords in succession, chord changes in the violin that yearn for a positive resolution, and an ampersand quality to the progression of the track, ending with a fitting one-note piano rhythm over mutating strings. The tune fades out after a slightly shorter 18 minutes with a purposeful air to it – these may be bread and butter compositions to avid string and piano players; simple improvisations, even – but they’re rendered with an unerring, fascinating strength that rarely lets up in terms of enchantment.

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