Duane Pitre: compositions, cumbus, ukelin, mandolin, computer, electronics; Oliver Barrett: cello; Bhob Rainey: soprano saxophone
Bridges conveys the unspeakable elation typical of a credible spirituality while giving us the sensation of having acquired a clear belief in its content after a mere couple of listens. Indeed Duane Pitre’s artistic identity is growing stronger from an album to another, in spite of the influences. His music is not made of utopian dreams or ankle-deep ephemeralness hiding dearth of ideas; a handful of cardinal constituents is sufficient to lead us across a type of demythologized transcendence which not many composers achieve these days, a healthy earnestness transpiring throughout.
Starting with a somewhat liturgical mood, the first track “Earth/Ember/Serpent” is the place where Oliver Barrett’s poignant cello glissandi – presumably the CD’s most prominent sonic attribute – dance slowly and sinuously with the Eastern nimbuses generated by Pitre’s string instruments. This Japanese/Indian fragrance is rich in harmonics and attractively tenuous colors, projecting the audience into the graduality of recollection. A delicate and moving piece, its compositional maturity affirmed without forcing the assimilation of abstruse combinations. That’s to say that even less practiced ears should savor it unworried.
“Cup/Aether/Crane” is this reviewer’s favorite. Its opening slice – and also a subsequent reprise of sorts several minutes later – might appeal to those who acknowledge the awesome drones diffused by the Greek trio Mohammad (Nikos Veliotis, Ilios and Coti K). Analogous depths are reached by Pitre’s score, although with a slightly lighter touch in opposition to the former group’s ominous mournings. These particular instances gain extra value from their alternance with fragile rarefactions appearing as links that connect the two tracks, thus transmitting the sense of disciplined unity that lies at the basis of the whole set.
The title refers to Pitre’s attempt to write music that fuses elements from oriental and occidental ambits. By adding his customary righteousness and commonsensical attention to detail, the man who used to produce small marvels from adjacent pitches steps forward inside the realm of musicians whose creations are still a necessity to carve chips of equanimity out of the raw wood of today’s latent hostility.