Frozen Orchestra (Amsterdam) is an appropriate moniker for these two works performed live at an Amsterdam venue by the core Berlin-based quartet The Pitch, with assistance from a combination of six woodwinds and strings performers. With inadvertent semblances to minimalist composer Morton Feldman, the music is largely about ever-so-subtle shifts in sound design and pitch. As a whole, the program is difficult to pigeonhole. Yet the trancelike and undulating attributes tender curiously interesting timbres, abetted by Boris Baltschun's reverberating electric pump organ phrasings that uncannily morph matters into surreal environs.
The music is underscored by a steady stream of consciousness and subliminal polytonal contrasts, featuring horns, strings and vibraphonist Morten J. Olsen's quietly ringing notes. Nonetheless, Baltschun's moderately swirling currents generate depth and a broad pastiche of sound, and it must be noted that the minimalist quotient does not ordinarily equate to a simplistic structure. There is little if any margin for error, as the musicians' approach demands strict adherence to the game-plan, since one incorrectly placed note or miniscule deviation can basically impair the intended results or throw things out of whack. But such is not the case here.
The ensemble tempers the cyclical processes to the point where time seems frozen, which is a facet that alludes to the album title. At times the combination of instruments yield hybrid organic-steely droning sounds and dark ambience, reminiscent of vintage Harold Budd and Brian Eno recordings. Ultimately, these performances toy with your psyche via a modicum of oscillating tonal swashes and discreet hues that convey a subtly executed array of provocative schemas.