Performed and put to tape at Estuary Recording Facility, The Seeker and The Healer constitutes the first collaborative work by Texas-based sound artist Cory Allen and Louisiana minimalist composer Duane Pitre. The album’s two side-long pieces were developed out of multiple improvisational sessions governed by predetermined rules, sourced from piano, bowed guitar, harmonium and 49-stringed drone harp (a custom-made instrument of Allen’s own design featured here on record for the first time).
In the context of both musicians’ discographies, these pieces occupy a unique and important place, synthesizing the strengths and compositional tendencies of each into a sympathetic and symbiotic whole. Pitre’s powerful, overtone-laden string work, documented on sterling outings for labels such as Important and Root Strata, is on fine display, augmented by the keen sense of pacing and attention to the finer points of acoustic atmosphere that typify Allen’s solo output. Both tracks go beyond academic minimalism, mining deeper and more personal terrain. The arc of “The Seeker” begins with contemplative piano clusters that are wed to guitar and harmonium drones, building to a dramatic crescendo and punctuated by percussive histrionics sourced from Allen’s drone harp. “The Healer” conjures a focused, mournful environment imbued with rich sonic lyricism by way of Pitre’s bowed guitar.
Operating as a duo, Allen and Pitre have found truly fertile ground, producing an album that stands as a radiant beacon in their already exemplary catalogs—a masterful record that proves to be distinct from their past releases and simply cannot be missed.