THE PITCH – Frozen Orchestra (Amsterdam)


Most people squander their weekend time vainly looking for relaxing spots after amassing an awful lot of stress during the working days. This writer finds a measure of temporary consolation only when – having trawled his archive – a record worthy of review is salvaged from oblivion and thoroughly enjoyed; such is the case of this release from 2015. Frozen Orchestra (Amsterdam) is a massively droning creature by The Pitch, namely Boris Baltschun, Koen Nutters, Morten J. Olsen and Michael Thieke. In this particular set the quartet interlaced with six additional stalwarts of the same scene (entire list and instrumentation readable at the label link).

It would be comfy to append the standard adjectives and the names of the usual suspects to categorize this music’s complexion. It would also be totally wrong, for not every piece comprising bordering pitches can correlate to Phill Niblock, especially when those tones move as in a s-l-o-w song. Did anybody read the title? Well, the feel is that of a frozen orchestra gradually recovering its motility as the first sun rays begin to melt the ice that was imprisoning bodies and instruments. When the process is completed, the power emerges without uncertainties.

There are indeed hints of near-immobile melody, though this does not justify the reference to Brian Eno and Harold Budd found in another writeup (which made me pity the unsuspicious ambient addicts who searched for this gritty item convinced to find something akin to The Plateaux Of Mirror). The strength of the whole is actually conveyed by the truly harmonic amalgamation of ranges and timbral grains. If anything, one thinks about a monumental bagpipe emanating hundreds of partials in shifting combinations: you discern the movements inside while remaining overwhelmed by a humongous thrum containing all that is needed to impregnate the environment with the therapeutic qualities of metamorphic consonance.

Because in this kind of butoh-like ensemble action even a strident cluster is recognizable as consonant. Here lies the secret of legitimate equality in whatever exists. The problem is managing to explain this simple notion to the professors of “physics of the unknowable” who become hysterical in lack of a daily dose of cheesy soundtracks for the achievement of cosmic unity (otherwise known as “carillons for the cognitively unequipped”)

A final predictable advice, always plausible for this sort of material: play loud.

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