Seek answers to your life problems and heal your emotional wounds at the same time by listening to this ebbing and flowing LP by Duane Pitre and Cory Allen. On this LP, they gave themselves some rules and one of them was that they could only source sound from a bowed guitar, a piano, a harmonium and a custom-made 49-stringed drone harp which Allen designed (and, as noted below, makes its recording debut). I love seeing people, especially musicians, restrict themselves in order to build strength in other areas – I think of it as an Iron Chef method. The fact that they only used those four instruments is quite impressive, since it sounds like there’s so much more than that. The depth of the strings is simply immense and it’s hypnotizing.

A fun fact: Duane Pitre played in a San Diego post-hardcore band named Camera Obscura before moving to this gentler realm of the music world. It reminds me of a certain Marc Bianchi, who also played in a California post-hardcore band (Indian Summer) and then moved on to make his soothing  electronic pop as Her Space Holiday. I wonder how many stories out there are like Pitre’s or Bianchi’s… It’s surreal to see people make genre shifts, specifically to their former genre’s polar opposite. Check out excerpts from The Seeker and the Healer below via the Soundcloud player and see what you think of them. Cheers!

 

 

 

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The Details

Performed and put to tape at Estuary Recording Facility, “The Seeker and The Healer” constitutes the first collaborative work by Texas-based sound artist Cory Allen and minimalist composer Duane Pitre, who hails from Louisiana. The album’s two sidelong pieces were developed out of multiple improvisational sessions governed by predetermined rules, sourced from piano, bowed guitar, harmonium, and 49-stringed drone harp (a custom-made instrument of Allen’s own design featured here on record for the first time). In the context of both musicians’ discographies, these pieces occupy a unique and important place, synthesizing the strengths and compositional tendencies of each into a sympathetic and symbiotic whole. Pitre’s powerful, overtone-laden string work, documented on sterling outings for labels such as Important and Root Strata, is on fine display here, augmented by the keen sense of pacing and attention to the finer points of acoustic atmosphere that typify Allen’s solo output. Both pieces go beyond academic minimalism, mining deeper and more personal terrain. The arc of “The Seeker” begins with contemplative piano clusters that are wed to guitar and harmonium drones, building to a dramatic crescendo and punctuated by percussive histrionics sourced from Allen’s drone harp. “The Healer” conjures a focused, mournful environment imbued with rich sonic lyricism by way of Pitre’s bowed guitar. Operating as a duo, Allen and Pitre have found truly fertile ground, producing an album that stands as a radiant beacon in their already exemplary catalogs- a masterful record that proves to be distinct from their past releases and simply cannot be missed.

Price $19

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