“Inverted Torch” by Jon Mueller & Duane Pitre
A blissful collaboration between two towering figures in experimental music.
Wisconsin’s Jon Mueller and New Orleans’ Duane Pitre are both towering figures in the world of avant garde sound. Mueller has notched up an astounding amount of albums and collaborations in the past (including two on this very label) and while most of his time is spent eking out unusual textures from his plethora of percussive instruments, he can also be spotted moonlighting as the drummer for main-stage indie act Volcano Choir. Pitre, having retired as a professional skateboarder (seriously), has also amassed an enviable catalogue, collaborating with Eleh and Cory Allen among others, and releasing on a variety of labels in the process.
Inverted Torch finds the duo meeting somewhere in the middle ;Mueller’s familiar patter (this time on a collection of gongs) is matched with Pitre’s bowed cymbals and his expertly realized collection of Max/MSP patches.
The album is made up of two pieces – ‘No Longer of Our Time’ and ‘A Fading Light Within its Place’, both taking influence from a poem (also titled The Inverted Torch) by Edith Matilda Thomas. This might seem inconsequential at first, but the duo used the text as the starting point in a process that allowed them to discuss change, life, time and human action as they blended real-time performance with synthetic elements seamlessly.
The push and pull between electronics and “real” instruments is a conversation artists have been struggling with for decades, but Mueller and Pitre somehow make their collaboration sound effortless and decidedly organic. Blissful, unique and oddly moving, Inverted Torch is a record that defies comparison and encourages patient, deep listening.