The Pitch is an experimental Berlin-based quartet made up of organ player Boris Baltschun, double bass player Koen Nutters, clarinetist Michael Thieke and vibes player Morten Joh. The quartet was founded in 2009 and focuses on reductionist and hypnotic forms of structured improvisation full of delicate acoustic exploration and electronic intervention The Pitch released eleven albums, including collaborations with other musicians and orchestras, and its twelfth, Neutral Star, is another collaboration, this time with Australian, Berlin-based guitarist-composer extraordinaire Julia Reidy, member of the local Splitter Orchester, who recorded with The Pitch, Frozen Orchestra (Splitter) (Mikroton, 2018).
The Pitch creates fragile and subtle, almost inseparable sonic entities that are punctuated by slow and minimalist shifts and eruptions of the vibraphone, clarinet, electronics and double bass. Reidy’s playing and compositional technique bridge between Takoma-style fingerpicking and Glenn Branca-esque microtonality. Her equally subtle playing perfectly complements the loose improvisational framework of The Pitch. Reidy’s guitar work expands The Pitch’s sonic palette into more expansive, atmospheric territories.
Neutral Star offers two extended and contemplative pieces, both recorded in one take at Morphine Raum in Berlin in May 2022, in front of a live audience and without overdubs. The first piece, «Endless ≠ Limitless» by Reidy and Joh, transforms gently and slowly washed-out and obscured tape delay sounds into a colorful, meandering ensemble piece with a subtle, swarming character until its mysterious bloom. The second, title piece is even more delicate and gentle and begins with a siren-like overtone whose drone-like character slowly morphs into a deterritorial modality with a jazzy undertone. These multi-layered, enigmatic pieces suggest an elusive sense of time and space, shifting and moving around and against time, counterintuitively and anti-cyclically, and into untimely sonic territories.
Perfect music for an attentive star-gazing session.
Boris Baltschun (organ), Koen Nutters (upright bass), Morten Joh (vibraphone), Michael Thieke (clarinet), Julia Reidy (guitar)