The debut album by composer Duane Pitre. This is the vinyl version, released concurrently with Important Records (USA) who issued the CD.
released November 1, 2006
"The Ensemble Chord in Eb with a Minor 7th and a Pump Organ Base"
Duane Pitre - Guitar
Casey Block - Tone Generator
Craig Colorusso - Guitar
Julianne Carney - Violin
Lathan Hardy - Alto Saxophone
Jon DeRosa - Pump Organ
Tianna Kennedy - Cello
Eric Elterman - Viola
"The Ensemble Chord in C with a Major 7th and a Guitar Base"
Duane Pitre - Guitar
Casey Block - Tone Generator
Craig Colorusso - Bass Clarinet
Lathan Hardy - Alto Saxophone
Harry Rosenblum - Alto Saxophone
Julianne Carney - Violin
Scored by Duane Pitre
Recorded by Eric Elterman in NYC on 10/24/05 @ East Side Sound
Mastering by Carl Saff
Cover artwork consists of two paintings entitled 'I'm going for 72 degrees in my head, all the time' (acrylic on wood) by Joshua Krause
Duane Pitre is a minimalist composer, performer, and sound artist from USA.
His work often focuses on the interaction between electronic sound and acoustic instrumentation, chaos and discipline, as well as site-specificity.
The composer also utilizes alternate tuning schemes that focus on microtonality, enabling him to explore unaccustomed intervallic relationships. He has created works for various instrumentation configurations such as string orchestra, his own bowed harmonic-guitar ensemble, string/wind ensembles, as well as solo works (including for himself).
Pitre's debut LP 'Organized Pitches Occurring In Time' [Trome/Important] explores improvisation centred around a rule-based score. Pitre has released numerous albums since including: 'Origin' [Root Strata], 'ED09 (for string ensemble): Live at The Stone' [Basses Frequencies]; 'Feel Free' and 'Bridges' [Important]
Joy for me can be summarized by the existence of things like the new Duane Pitre/Pilotram Ensemble LP, “Organized Pitches Occurring in Time.”
To begin with, it’s on vinyl, a nice heavy slab of it. Great start. Furthermore, the album artwork is phenomenal. It’s simple. A delicately intricate, finely brushed painting of flowers and organic swirls, done in two horizontally lined chunks, divided by basic project information. Beautiful.
Beyond that, and most importantly, this is a release, consisting of two long tracks, that simply hits all the right buttons for me.
This is a drone record. There is plenty of droning to be had, plenty of hypnotic, hallucinatory, and trance inducing drones that envelop you in their surprisingly dense textural quality residing below the tranquil surface.
The two tracks are built upon a framework, rigidly controlled, by its creator, Duane Pitre. From this regimented base, the ensemble goes forth improvising over the score and taking the piece into new and uncharted terrain. There is a stylistic clarity running through both pieces, but each side of this record stands alone as an intensely beautiful work in its own right. Which, to be honest, is the point. This is work with a built in life support system, and reinventing it every time they play it, the Pilotram Ensemble are able to breath a ton of new life into every interpretation of Pitre’s groundwork.
This is the sort of album that will be on my turntable for days to come, and whose sleeve will never leave the side of my speakers for months.
Beautiful, stark, highly effective, and austerely compelling, “Organized Pitches Occurring In Time” is a genuinely brilliant release. 10/10
- Foxy Digitalis
Who said that every pseudo-static composition must open new paths? Sometimes, crystalline aural beauty is just what we need to spend a hour of our lifetime sitting transfixed amidst emotional failure, gazing at something that might look insignificant in the great scheme of things, while instead one would kill someone rather than give up its presence (my black cat's sleeping a couple of metres from where I'm writing, therefore watch out). And this album is so gorgeously entrancing that I really don't care if it's also directly related to La Monte Young, Tony Conrad or Phill Niblock (well, maybe also Folke Rabe). Almost exactly divided into two long segments, conceptually derived by Duane Pitre's piece "Ensemble Drones", this music is compared by the author to a living organism in which each different listener acts as a pair of "eyes", depending on individual perception. The instrumentation comprises guitars, tone generator, bass clarinet, alto saxophones, violin, viola, cello and pump organ. Trying to leave any intellectual interpretation aside, this is splendidly conceived and executed material, whose richness of overtones and s-l-o-w-l-y shifting modulations surely amplify the perspectives of the acoustic spaces that our systems are able to determine, which evidently are not the same for everyone. It mostly has to do with the capacity of expansion of one's mind, and "Organized pitches" is a valid instrument for that particular necessity. On a second thought, I'd even associate some of Pitre's layers to selected pages of the early 90s' version of Jim O'Rourke (who indeed has always acknowledged Rabe and Niblock as influences). But quoting all these names - which is only needed to channel your focus on an evasive idea of how this stuff sounds like - doesn't render justice to the strength of the recording, which catapults Pitre just a split hair below the upper echelon of contemporary minimalism.
Massimo Ricci - Touching Extremes
The Pilotram Ensemble adopts a rule based system on this aural document, Organized Pitches Occurring In Time. Pitch classes, playing methods, and technique restrictions are established in advance, existing as an inert datum, conventional and arbitrary, with and against which the ensemble - consisting of some nine players who veer from pump organ, to cello, violin, alto saxophone, and bass clarinet - improvise, filling in spaces, making incisions, expanding on or reorganizing certain base elements to form a complex whole which thickens and simmers as it ages.
For one, the approach discloses the necessity of contingency. As blocks of feral orchestration shift like tectonic plates, note cells from cello and bass clarinet tumble, spiral, and dissolve, adding supple complexities to the long ecstatic microtonal drones. These details are decidedly off the peg, and particular to each piece, thus, in a sense, denoting some manner of freedom or individuality. Yet, these elements, though distinct, are largely fostered by the skeletal structure itself, that closed palpitation of pump organ that finds pleasure in endlessly repeating itself to no avail.
There are no real openings in these multifaceted works, then, as pieces develop in a highly regulated and spontaneous manner. The second composition, in particular, has an exactness and control, but is clearly invested with a steady inner pulse. As electronic tones float serenely above while bass clarinet somber lines, despite all its seriousness, the recording, perched artfully between simplicity and complexity, is also highly accessible and affecting.
- Cyclic Defrost
...Creating the same melancholy loneliness [as tromeoo2], yet sounding completely different Duane Pitre/Pilotram Ensemble, offer two wonderful drones on their album “Organised Pitches Occurring In Time”. Side one contains a drone in E flat (with a minor 7th) anchored with the sound of a Pump Organ, the piece rich in textures and deeply moving, the slowly changing sounds creating ghostly harmonies as the piece progresses, the sounds swelling with the timeless power of a glacier. Side 2 continues the momentum, this time in C (with a Major 7) and using a guitar as its base. Lighter in feel, the music is the sound of the sun breaking over the mountains, slowly warming your cold bones. August 08
- Terrascope Online
...Further explorations into the catacombs of planet drone continue with Duane Pitre & The Pilotram Ensemble, whose vinyl album opens the account of the Trome label (the name being short for The Remains Of My Estate) based in London. The ‘Organized Pitches Occurring in Time’ set contains two pieces, both based on an ensemble called ‘Ensemble Drones’. This score is then used as an eventual test-bed for the nine instrumentalists’ skills in improvisation and tonal shading. ‘Ensemble Chord in Eb w/ a Minor 7th & a Pump Organ Base’ is an exercise in gently unfolding elegance where shards of sunlight are imagined streaming through huge, highly decorated stained glass windows. The equally snappily titled ‘Ensemble Chord in C w/ a Major 7th & a Guitar Base’ takes on more sombre and reserved tones; the light of the previous track is now lost in a particularly dense fog bank in which Craig Colorusso’s bass clarinet seemingly acts as a rather sonorous warning to those in unfamiliar surroundings. September 08
- Terrascope Online
On Duane Pitre’s new release, the experimental guitarist taps into classic minimalist music. His compositions “The Ensemble Chord in Eb with a Minor 7th & a Pump Organ Base” and “The Ensemble Chord in C with a Major 7th & a Guitar Base” mix the buoyantly repetitive sounds of Terry Riley’s pieces with the meditative tones of La Monte Young’s work along a linear musical path of varied instrumental drones. Pitre composes and conducts his group the Pilotram Ensemble with subtle precision. The tone generator provides the aural backbone for each piece, allowing Pitre to guide the violins, cello, pump organ and bass clarinet into gradually layered drones. The results are 50 minutes of blissfully sparse sound grooves riding sonically dynamic peaks and valleys. Pitre also writes East Indian microtonal textures into this music, which sometimes sound like night ragas. Despite Pitre’s stylistic references to ’60s minimalist music, his compositions are contemporary. We hear this when Pitre lets his guitar feedback drone, evoking Glenn Branca’s avant-guitar noise, albeit on a muted tip. Organized Pitches Occurring in Time is engaging environmental music for either working around the studio or relaxed late hour listening.
At the basis of this LP (which is also released on CD by Important Records) is a 'conceptual composition' from Duane Pitre: two 'long-form drone compositions' with 'set tonic, set pitch classes, playing methods and technique restrictions' and is played by Pitre himself on guitar, and the Pilotram Ensemble which has a tone generator, bass clarinet, alto saxophones and a violin, with the extra addition of a pump organ. Two, twenty-five minute pieces of pure drone music, in which the instruments play along the tone generator, thus combining acoustic and electronic sounds. This is hardly y'r common drone music that one can find a lot in these pages. It's rather a piece of modern classical music, perhaps along the lines of the Theatre Of Eternal Music (if only we could hear more of them), but also Alvin Lucier and to a lesser extent Phill Niblock (although one could easily link this to 'Five More String Quartets'). Beautiful, peaceful music of slow passing clouds of sound, all excellently recorded. Music rises, falls, rises and falls again, staying in that harmonious way of seemingly one drone (well, two). Great work for the dark winter night.
- Vital Weekly issue 605
If liquid smooth, shimmering microtonal drones with a classical aura are your cup of tea, then the two 25-minute long drones comprising this LP are sure to please. Based on an earlier composition by Duane Pitre, these are minimal ambient drones in their most pristine form.
Organized Pitches Occurring in Time is the first vinyl release on Chris Gowers' (Evelyn Records) London-based Trome Records label, devoted to “releasing lo-fi and ambient recordings, and some that fall in between.”The two pieces, The Ensemble Chord in E Flat with a Minor 7th and a Pump Organ Base and The Ensemble Chord in C with a Major 7th and a Guitar Base, are more spontaneous/improvised variations of a composition that Pitre wrote in 2005 titled Ensemble Drones. Aside from the obvious references to pump organ and guitar, other instruments used by the ensemble in bring these peices to life were tone generator, violin, alto saxophone, cello, viola, bass clarinet, and violin.
The core of each piece is an endlessly cycling internal pulsation about which everything else revolves. Sometimes tranquil and humble, at other times, noisy and majestic, Organized Pitches Occurring in Time can at one moment be fragile and soporific and the next robust and invigorating.
RATED: 10 / 10
- Ear Labs
Drones are funny critters. Generally speaking, one desires to hear detail within the drone, a swirling mass of microscopic sounds, accidental emergent patterns and perhaps an implicit granularity just out of the range of perception. On the other hand, "pure" drones can have their own kind of beauty; witness Sachiko M's sine tones. But unless one enjoys simply zoning out to the ambient hum, they need to perform the contradictory function of mutating while essentially remaining the same, no mean trick. Just as intriguing is when and how the listener determines that a given piece has run its course, where all available sonic images have been heard and the music begins to tread water.
All of these issues come into play on Duane Pitre's fascinating recording of two 25 minute works with titles that explicitly recall La Monte Young. "The Ensemble Chord in Eb with a Minor 7th and a Pump Organ Base" is just that, a gorgeously elaborated, extended chord performed by a small ensemble consisting of Pitre (guitar), Casey Block (tone generator), Craig Colorusso (guitar), Julianne Carney (violin), Lathan Hardy (alto saxophone), John DeRosa (pump organ), Tianna Kennedy (cello) and Jon Elterman (viola). And for about 17-18 minutes it succeeds wonderfully, a beautiful arrangement of textures sinuously twining through space, providing layer upon layer of detail depending where the listener chooses to focus. It hovers like a varicolored cloud, inviting and rewarding deep listening. However, as it reaches a long decrescendo, not only does the music begin to unwind, it also drifts a bit, losing the focus and rigor it earlier contained. It's a lovely piece, just a third or so too long.
Its companion work, "The Ensemble Chord in C with a Major 7th and a Guitar Base", for sextet (losing the last three above named musicians, with Colorusso switching to bass clarinet and with the addition of Harry Rosenblum on alto saxophone) has a similar problem. The disappearance of the pump organ, which was a predominant color in the first piece, lends an entirely different tonal configuration to this one. It's drier, more metallic though just as initially beguiling. Various elements recede and come to the fore, the bass clarinet's prominence later in the piece being especially attractive (and inevitably calling to mind Reich's "Music for Eighteen Musicians"). It's every bit as intriguing as the first piece. Once again, however, a bit short of the 20 minute mark, it loses just enough steam, just that amount of grit to make a subtle difference but enough of one that it might have the listener glancing at the clock. It's quite possible that in a live setting, in an appropriately resonant room, this would be less of a concern, but on disc there's just a tinge of wearing out one's welcome.
At 36-40 minutes, this would have been a superb recording. As is, it's still very much worth hearing and by and large extremely enjoyable.
- Squids Ear
Duane Pitre used to be a member of Camera Obscura, but for the better part of this decade he’s been living in New York City and developing his minimalist aesthetic through lots of sessioning and writing. This record compiles two performances of a piece he wrote entitled "Ensemble Drones." The liner notes claim that the score is only a skeleton: the performers are left to flesh out the instrumentation, performance space, and even pitch as they see fit. Pitre envisions a piece that will be different with every performance. The two versions of "Ensemble Drones" on offer here indicate that those differences will be subtle but worthwhile. Both tracks exceed 20 minutes and coast through that playing time at an unhurried pace. Like a lot of drone pieces, this music is only as rewarding as your patience and curiosity allow it to be. The grand, rippling textures give the impression of a vibrating sunset, the colors of the spectrum shimmying against each other as they fade into darkness. You can enjoy the vista from afar, listening in a passive, meditative mode, or you can throw yourself into it, try to probe the undulating layers for pattern. Either way, the elegance and grandeur of the music is undeniable.
Instruments include guitar, cello, viola, tone generator, and saxophone, but ultimately the individual voicings are less important than their choral impact. The various timbres are threaded together as tightly as muscle fibers, a sign of the tremendous poise the musicians exercise throughout the piece. They respond and yield to each other well, creating a lovely sense of push and pull without ever slipping into redundant phrases. The second performance is darker than the first, and the presence of breath is much more pronounced. The clarinet and brass provide thick, cloudy interruptions of a work much more anxious than its quiet, rolling cousin. Cheers to Pitre for creating and executing a beautiful concept. Twice.
- Tiny Mix Tapes