Xe + Ar

Unusual and very good album called Xenon & Argon (GAFFER RECORDS GR053) of acoustic chamber music by a quartet called The Pitch, four Berlin-based fellows who play clarinet, organ, bass and vibraphone. They’ve been doing it since 2009 and have evolved a particular way of working and creating music which is largely beyond me as I don’t have the musicology skills to grasp it, but apparently it lies somewhere between improvisation and composed music, and involves a specific approach to harmonic construction which they call “pitch-set constellations”. That reference point established, they either deploy melodic patterns of notes, or let the pieces unfold in slow motion. I can’t be the first listener to have noticed an uncanny resemblance here to the work of Morton Feldman, although there’s considerably more musical activity going on (they are not exactly minimalists) and The Pitch’s general demeanour when performing is less strict, less tightly disciplined than good old “Morty”. Whatever they are doing, it comes together very nicely, and creates a very pleasant “lucid dreaming” sensation that is helpful and beneficial to the mind and body. “Ultra-talented and forward-thinking” is how their label describes the quartet and their micro-tonal music. From 12 January 2015.