Passepartout Duo “Daylighting”

It’s hard not to find the concept Nicoletta Favari Christopher Salvito’s latest as Passepartout Duo, Daylighting, is built around fascinating. Custom-built, personalized electronic instruments were used throughout, in conjunction with the duo’s portable set of small percussion. These instruments were designed to functionally integrate textiles and synthesizer circuits and from this design, a host of new, otherworldly sounds are devised.

Passepartout Duo creates enchanting sonic worlds. Their spritely percussive elements are filled with frenetic energy, a more minimalist take on gamelan that they infuse with these expansive synthscapes. “Indentations” flies with a chiming pulse while melodic electronics paint circles in the air, rotating around the rhythms in an intricately choreographed dance. Hypnotic tones climb a ladder toward clouds that keep moving further away, an urgency rising in the lush sequences. With “Speciation,” the tables are flipped and the electronics do the pushing while the glassine percussive notes are left searching. Passepartout Duo are experts at finding a balance with these disparate themes.

Not everything on Daylighting is a rollicking festival of rhythmic explorations. The title track is solemn and contemplative with only synths moving in slow motion. There’s a carefulness to each note, each chord that resonates deeply. Album closer “Quiescence” mines similar territory, but finds echoes in space as rapid-fire synthetic patterns emerge among the airy drones. It’s an indeterminate end to a captivating album, leaving more questions and possibilities traveling adrift, looking ahead to the next odyssey.

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