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Exquisite Introspective Sonic Vistas
on August 23, 2011
I have been listening to Patrick's music since the `80's, and I can say that this release does NOT disappoint. His opening track, `Reaching Land', which was previously released as a single, sets the tone for a wonderfully fresh if not slightly nostalgic new journey. `Courage' is a fragile cinematic piece that could have been an Edward Shearmur piece, but there is something distantly disquieting that we eventually catch a glimpse of at the conclusion of the piece - awesome, Patrick! `Playground' evokes an eerie innocence like a half-remembered childhood dream. On `Restless', new and older familiar timbres blend with mechanical and metallic precision, while still infusing the woodiness of the fretless bass / cello lead, which creates a vista only O'Hearn listeners could recognize. Crystalline `Patterns' offers a simple and lovely look at musical structure and complementary substance, which leads us to a similar piece - `Well-Mannered', which is a more classically-inspired version of the similar pattern structure, using more natural and signature O'Hearn tones. Taking `Flight' is a fairly minimalistic O'Hearn piece, with the occasional burst of soaring textures. My favorite piece of the album is `Sea', with is warm pads and strangely inverted rolling "waves" and subtly flanged swells; the addition of the sparse reverberant piano lead is just perfection, and evokes the huge vista of being on a sailboat at sunset when the sun is golden bronze and the water flows like molten copper. The final piece `Frontiers Revisited' is a bit of a quirky piece with a clockwork-like lead-in that builds with piano, marimba, and is a nice nod to some of Patrick's other work that doesn't necessarily fit neatly into any "ambient" category.
I wish Amazon would make lossless downloads available - this release would be an excellent candidate, as I find Patrick's music much more suited for headphone listening. He's put this much effort into delivering such an excellent album, I want to make sure that I put some effort into listening to it properly. Overall, I'm really enjoying Patrick's newest work, and I sincerely hope he can continue to make wonderful music like this for years to come! 4.5 Stars
EDIT 2012-01-20: 'Frontiers Revisited' sounded familiar to me for a while, and now I know why -- can't believe I didn't "get it" previously! This is a re-worked "cover" of 1980's Group 87 track of similar name, played by none other than Patrick O'Hearn / Pete Maunu / Mark Isham! Prog / fusion, par excellence: my favorite track on this release is probably 'Magnificent Clockwork', but other tracks may appeal to more O'Hearn-focused fans (check out: 'The Bedouin' and 'While the City Sleeps'). If you dig Larry Fast's 'Synergy' releases, Level 42, Jean-Luc Ponty, you'll probably like Group 87's material as well. [Listen to 'Sublime Feline', and tell me that Level 42 didn't "kang" the whole first minute for 'The Sleepwalkers' on their 1987 chart-topping 'Running In The Family' release. Funny that two of my all-time favorite artists are both bassists! -PK
EDIT 2014-06-12. Does someone here know of a place to purchase the CD of this release? It's been out of print for over a year now, and I originally purchased the MP3 version (as indicated above). I am DYING to get my hands on a copy of the CD to give it the proper treatment. Post a comment here if you can help me out with locating a copy -- THANK YOU!!!!
EDIT 2014-06-21. FINALLY I've located and purchased this CD via eBay. Can't wait to give this a proper listen/rip... YAY! :D