The final installment of the year-end countdown of my favorite albums from 2012.
10. Duane Pitre, Feel Free (Important) New Orleans composer Duane Pitre created a system/composition using a computer algorithm. At root, the computer holds various recordings of harmonic patterns played on guitars tuned in just intonation; the program randomly plays back various little snatches, which overlap and resonate in ever-changing combinations. The piece can function in that sparse mode, but it becomes more interesting when other players join in, as on this lovely recording with violinist Jim Altieri, hammer dulcimer player Shannon Fields, bassist James Ilgenfritz, cellist Jessie Marino, and harpist Jesse Sparhawk. Participants are free to play what they want, although Pitre established rules to prevent performances from veering into chaos or overload. These collaborators nail it, making it the most beautiful, gently accruing piece of strings vibrations I’ve heard all year.