Duane Pitre is an American avant-garde composer, performer, and sound artist. His work often focuses on the interaction between electronic sound and acoustic instrumentation, chaos and discipline, as well as site-specificity. The composer also utilizes alternate tuning schemes that focus on microtonality, enabling him to explore unaccustomed intervallic relationships. He has created works for various instrumentation configurations such as string orchestra, his own bowed harmonic-guitar ensemble, string/wind ensembles, electronic sound-installations, as well as electro-acoustic solo works for himself.
He has presented and performed his live
works across the U.S., U.K., and
Europe at spaces such as Café OTO
(London), Roulette (NYC), The Stone (NYC),
Muziekhuis Utrecht, MoMA’s P.S.1, The Cube (Bristol, UK),
GRIM (Marseille, FR), NK (Berlin), St. Ann’s
Pitre’s sound installations have been included in visual art group shows in Geneva (2013's Prosthetic Measures at the Skopia Gallery) and New Orleans (as a part of the 2012 NOLA Now show at the Contemporary Art Center). Pitre has also performed live in gallery settings such as New York’s Phillips de Pury & Co., San Francisco’s Eli Ridgway Gallery (as reviewed in ArtForum as a part of James Sterling Pitt’s 2012 show On a Clear Day We Were Lightening), Elaine Gallery in Basel, O' in Milan, and New Orleans’ Antenna Gallery.
Pitre has been featured in publications such as The Wire, The Village Voice, The New York Times, The Creators Project (a Vice/Intel collaboration), Pitchfork, Dusted, Skug: Journal for Music (Austria), and NewMusicBox. His work has been released by various labels including Important Records, Root Strata, NNA Tapes, and Quiet Design, and he has appeared on soundtracks with Dinosaur Jr., Battles, and Animal Collective. In 2009 he curated and contributed a track to a Just Intonation compilation, alongside Pauline Oliveros, Ellen Fullman, Charles Curtis, and others.
He has performed at festivals such as the 2011 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC (alongside the Flaming Lips, Earth, Swans, J. Mascis, Guided by Voices, Rhys Chatham, and more) and the 2012 The Wire's Adventures in Modern Music Festival at The Empty Bottle in Chicago.
Pitre’s 2012 album, Feel Free, received critical acclaim and was included on several ‘best of’ lists, including being named #37 on The Wire’s ‘2012 Rewind’ (out of their top 50 releases); #34 on The Wire’s ‘Subscribers’ Releases of the Year’ list; and #8 on Uncut Magazine’s ‘Wild Mercury Sound Top 112 of 2012’ list. In addition, “The Out Door,” Pitchfork’s experimental-minded column included Feel Free on its ‘Best of 2012: The Big Four’ list. The album was also included in several year-end lists for Dusted Magazine and many other blogs.
In 2013 Pitre released several new albums including his follow-up to Feel Free, titled Bridges, which was released on Important Records in August; a debut LP from a new collaboration with electronic minimalist Eleh (under the moniker PITRELEH); and a live recording of his summer 2012 sextet performance of Feel Free at London’s Café OTO, whose release date coincided with a month-long U.K./Europe tour in fall 2013 which spanned eight countries.
2014/2015 marks a time of many collaborative albums for Pitre, including duos with Cory Allen (on Students of Decay), Jon Mueller (on Type Records), Gareth Davis (on Important Records) and Agathe Max (on Desire Path Recordings). A live recording (that took place in Paris in fall 2013) of the James Blackshaw Ensemble collaboration (consisting of Pitre, Blackshaw, Simon Scott [Slowdive, 12k], and Charlotte Glasson) was released on Tompkins Square in July 2014.
In summer 2015 Important Records released Pitre’s Bayou Electric on CD and LP. The album utilizes synthesizers, sine tones, amplified violin/viola/cello, a single (unprocessed) field recording and custom software. Bayou Electric is the final installment in an unplanned trilogy, with Feel Free and Bridges making up the first and second installments in the series, respectively. All three works share similar characteristics, compositional processes, alternate tuning schemes, instrumentation and a certain ethos that Pitre views as a cohesive whole.