The Pitch is a quartet made up of Boris Baltschun, Koen Nutters, Michael Thieke and Morten Joh. Founded in Berlin in 2009, they play a hypnotic form of structured improvisation full of acoustic exploration and electronic intervention. On Neutral Star, The Pitch are joined by Australian guitarist/composer extraordinaire Julia Reidy for a record of star gazing electro-acoustic jazz.
Reidy’s playing and compositional technique between Takoma-style fingerpicking and Glenn Branca’esque microtonality, perfectly complements the loose improvisational framework The Pitch is providing. Endless ≠ Limitless, a recent piece by Reidy and Joh, is transformed from a washed-out/obscured tape delay composition into a colorful, meandering ensemble piece with a swarming character – blooming with intrigue for the patient ear. The B-side strikes a more gentle tone: the 24-minute Neutral Star begins with a siren-like overtone whose drone-like flowing slowly morphs into a deterritorial modality with jazzy undertone. Accompanied by constant eruptions of vibraphone, clarinet, electronics and double bass punctuation – while permanently questioned by Reidy’s drippingly pearly steel guitar work. Slowly evolving into new territories through the expansive instrumentation and keen listening between the players.
The fact that Neutral Star was recorded in one take (by Rabih Beaini in his Morphine Raum studio/venue) in front of a live audience and without overdubs is hard to believe, even for the trained ear. The recording appears to be too multilayered for a single snapshot, with its compositional structures constantly shifting and moving against themselves, counterintuitively and anti-cyclically. Reidy´s playing has been described as “unstable harmonic territory, and the collaboration with The Pitch interprets this concept brilliantly – adding further non-places to the territory. And the listener, however, is never left alone in the process of tectonic shifts – at least as long as their listening is attentive and contemplative at once.