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Boomkat Product Review:
Duane Pitre's first solo album since 2015's 'Bayou Electric', 'Omnicient Voices' is an intuitive work made from piano and electronics that's inspired by Morton Feldman, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
Pitre wasn't intending to work on a new album when he started experimenting with electronics and a piano tuned using just intonation - a system that tunes all the intervals as whole number ratios, or pure intervals. He had been studying Morton Feldman's scores and wondered if the fusion might work, and in 2020 he recorded a series of experiments that used his Max/MSP network to interface between the piano and two microtonal hardware synthesizers. The result is a set of unsettling drones that feel both synthetic and acoustic, where the piano becomes alien and the synthesizer tones blur completely with its decayed resonance.
'In Rhodes, To Delphi' sounds disorienting and dissonant initially, before your brain adjusts to the unusual tuning. Piano notes take on the character of bells, almost, and icy electronic drones follow the sounds like traces of parallel reality. This theme is expressed in more detail on 'The Rope Behind The Bee', creating an almost sacred atmosphere that nods towards church music without mimicking it. Pitre's understanding of minimalism is laudable, and his use of tuning unique and expressive. "Omniscient Voices" is an absorbing record that slowly reveals itself until it's firmly lodged in the frontal lobes.