Boomkat Product Review:
The unsurpassable Julia Reidy returns alongside Berlin-based quartet The Pitch, who bless Reidy's peculiar xenharmonic tones with sparse flourishes of vibraphone, clarinet, double bass and electronics. A dizzying display of obtuse harmony and doomy, cosmic jazz, it's like Bohren & der Club of Gore playing Glenn Branca.
We've been knocked sideways by Julia Reidy's last run of releases, and 'Neutral Star' only fuels our obsession. Recorded in front of an audience in one take by Rebih Beaini at his Morphine Raum studio-cum-venue, it's a startling technical achievement, sounding deep and layered even without overdubs. The Pitch, made up of Boris Baltschun, Koen Nutters, Michael Thieke and Morten Joh, have been playing together since 2009, working out a way to blend acoustic improvisation with hypnotic electronics, and alongside Reidy they're able to slip into a parallel universe. Their music is both familiar and strangely exotic, following Reidy's obsession with non-standard tunings richly orchestrating the open-ended compositions.
'Endless ≠ Limitless' began as a tape-delay-based piece written by Reidy and Joh, and here plumes into a smoky, decelerated cabaret puff, with haunted, jazzy double-bass plucks at the root and sparse, wooly vibraphone tones and waved woodwind blasts fogging the upper register. The piece unfurls over almost 25 minutes, sustaining its particular, Lynchian mood and giving Reidy enough space to add their characteristic twang where necessary. On the flip, the title track is more nebulous, with Reidy adding subtle fingertaps to a high-pitched clarinet fanfare that sounds as if it's being carried across storm winds from beyond the coast. The lounge-y jazz vapors are all but gone here, swallowed by caliginous drones and wonky xenharmonic flurries - at times, it's tough to work out which elements are electronic, and which are emanating from acoustic instruments.
Subtle and uncommonly atmospheric, 'Neutral Star' is an album that takes the sultry evocative tone of film music and queers the pitch, neatly swerving any burned-out, melodramatic tropes in the process. Massive recommendation.