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. Pitre, having retired as a professional skateboarder, has also amassed an enviable catalog, 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.