Nótt by Gareth Davis + Duane Pitre

Gareth Davis + Duane Pitre | Nótt
Midira (CD/DL)

Not too long ago we had sung the virtues of clarinettist Gareth Davis while talking about Elliott Sharp’s Plastový Hrad. That bass clarinet is now thrown in a totally different context, one created by a continuous electronic drone. The engenderer of the latter – Duane Pitre – is a renowned stalwart in the field of trance-inducing music. Pitre’s interest in unusual oscillation has been concretized by a number of brilliant releases; among them we like to remember 2010’s Origin, scored for six bowed guitars tuned in just intonation, on the Root Strata imprint.

Given that the album’s title quotes a mythological figure representing the night’s embodiment, the ears are not surprised by a 34-minute piece revolving around a trademark “pseudo-stasis/continuous shifting of upper partials” axis. It’s indeed music that fills the air and the brain, harmonically substantial though minimalist in spirit, definitely weighty in terms of resonant power. In a non-stop loop at moderate volume, it certainly works much better as “musick to play in the dark” than the grossly overrated Coil series, if you ask us.

But. 

There’s something that doesn’t quite gel, in spite of the unquestionable talents of both participants. The overall sonority, potentially compelling, did not originate the emotional and psychological response typical of the genuine milestones of dronescaping. Notwithstanding a slight degree of inherent dissonance, the vibrational momentum didn’t produce the silent connection with the “beyond beyond” we (still) crave from this category of sonic item. Ultimately, the reed improvisation-vs-droning matter engine fires on all cylinders only for a while; after that, our perceptive systems have filed the whole in the “nothing special” section of the memory. 

An interesting listen, in any case. However, our suspicion is that Nótt is not going to pass the test of time.

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