Customer Reviews: Transitions
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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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
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on November 11, 2011
I've been a longtime fan of Patrick O'Hearn since at least the summer of 1998 when I began buying his CDs starting with his collection "The Private Music of Patrick O'Hearn". Since then, I have bought all of his albums starting with 1985's "Ancient Dreams" and everything released since then including "Glaciation". While I enjoyed it a lot back in 2007, it left something to be desired for me. A four year wait ensued but it culminates in his 13th studio album (Not including soundtracks) entitled "Transitions" and it is MAGNIFICENT! I can't even begin to justify the sense of wonder at how O'Hearn has kept his magic and his Midas Touch intact for nearly 30 years, both with Missing Persons but also as a solo artist. "Transitions" heralds a return to O'Hearn's roots as both a cellist, a pianist, and composer and blends all of his classic styles ranging from the electronic keyboards of his early albums, and the echoing pianos of post-Indigo works and yet creating a style all of it's own. A good four years after his previous release, that time frame shows in how different this one is from its predecessor.

The opening track entitled "Reaching Land" harkens back to the days of 2001's "So Flows The Current" with the combination of echoing pianos echoing amidst a musical palette of watery keyboard arrangements both climaxing with ceramic percussion rhythms that only O'Hearn can create. It blends echoes of, "The Stroll" from "Rivers Gonna Rise" and echoes of "Crossing the Divide" from "Metaphor". A must-hear and the first opening notes convinced me this CD would be great. "Courage" is a holdover from 2007's "Glaciation" with a wintry, orchestral atmosphere, and similar atmosphere, like the evening sky in mid-winter. "Playground" is pure paradise with a mid-tempo rhythm built entirely from keyboards and a unique blend of joyfulness and suspense all blended in one. It is probably among his sunniest and happiest songs since "Traveler's Rest" and it is among my favorite songs on this entire album. I was instantly grabbed by the first keyboard notes coming out of my headphones and it is likely to become a favorite of his 21 century works. "Restless" is a marvelous blend of ominous atmospheres, dark-gray mood, heavy suspense, and electronic keyboard arrangements. The deep echoing ringing hum in the background gives the song even greater suspense along with it's strange pneumatic-air sound effect rhythm. This particular song is like a natural sequel to "Northwest Passage" from a decade ago as it has a very similar, dark-gray cloud atmosphere. "Patterns" is a departure of sorts with a subtle mix of dazzling keyboard arrangements like droplets of water hitting a pond for every note heard culminating in an ambient blend of ambient trademark keyboard arrangements, and a unique atmosphere. Easily among the simplest songs on this CD. "Well-Mannered" is another departure from his normal styles and has heavier acoustic arrangements with a somber, melancholy tone reminiscent of a trip through the Appalachian Mountains on a rainy early spring evening. If you liked "Narada Sampler `96", you will love this song. "Flight" returns to his classic style with trademark echoing keyboard arrangements alongside echoing piano arrangements. I often imagine flying over the sea in winter or early spring on with clouds just below, with crepuscular rays visible from both above and below, casting shadows on the sea and landscape. Mentioning the sea, the eighth track ironically entitled "Sea" is pure ambience that rises and ebbs in very slow crescendos like watching slow-moving waves from high above. It is like a vastly improved version of "Gradual Understanding" with greater atmosphere. The feeling is very similar, albeit brighter and warmer. The final track "Frontiers Revisited" is exquisite beyond recognition, and is a very bittersweet blend of his sunny atmospheres of "River's Gonna Rise", the echoing haunting pianos of "Metaphor" and finally a new unique style of electric guitar arrangements. Beginning with beautiful echoing pianos and then a beautiful blend of bass-guitar sounds that are almost perfectly lifted from his "River's Gonna Rise" days but then blended with the beauty of "So Flows The Current" ambience, and a very bittersweet atmosphere. There's even an odd chord progression and again 0:53 to 1:05 where it seems to momentarily morph into a slight C-Minor before morphing right back to a C-Major. This is heard again at 2:06 to 2:14. It is a very interesting melodic pattern there. Finally culminating in a radiant blend of joyous and somber ambience starting at the 2:20, becoming more intense, and with marimba's towards the final minute, it finally echoes away with electric guitars bringing this album to a close. It is a magnificent way to close out this wonderful album and is my favorite closing track since "Traveler's Rest".

In conclusion, "Transitions" has already become among the best New Age albums I've heard in many years and absolutely worth the wait. I've read in some sites criticizing O'Hearn's direction since his days at Private Music and Deep Cave records. Although I can respect their opinions, I have to respectfully disagree with them. Although I previously might have said that I wanted another "Ancient Dreams" or another "Indigo", the fact that "Transitions" is so wonderful and moving has convinced me that I'm open to just about any change of style that each album of his has. Another criticism I read was that it was `slow' once more. Now granted, there's no "Downhill Racer" nor "Step" or anything truly `danceable' in that context, but still, the sense of renewed magic and beautiful atmosphere, and soul present on here, makes "Transitions" a masterpiece. It's far too early to tell, as of this writing, where it will stand with me among his entire body of work, but for me, while not knocking on his 2003-07 works, it is safe to say that this is my favorite album of his since "So Flows The Current".
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on December 30, 2011
I became an instant fan of O'Hearn when I bought "Ancient Dreams" as a teen in 1985. While I had initially thought that the private music label was the magic, as that New Age stable of artists collapsed into BMG I began following O'Hearn's work through his many label incarnations and realized the magic was O'Hearn himself. I have remained faithful to him in the 26yrs since that initial purchase, chiefly due to HIS remaining faithful to himself and his incredible ability to evoke emotion, pure and simple, through instrumental moods. I have had the privilege of corresponding with him on two occasions and found him to be genuine and gregarious. This new recording is a continuation of his vision of simple, direct mood, movement, and flow through instrumentation. It sounds like an effortless combination of his nostalgic "Slow time" (where he brought back his old analog equipment)and "Glaciation" which was more of a return to his works of the 1990s, like "Indigo." There are also wonderful moments, as in "Patterns" where you almost feel you are listening to extra tracks that didn't make it to the "Ancient Dreams" recording. I have learned not to try and fit O'Hearn into any one category, as his work is really it's own dimension, only having vague reference here and there to the recordings of Harold Budd, or Later Brian Eno. But O'Hearn is always richer, and somehow seems to capture the truth of emotion through sound. "Transitions" is a solid O'Hearn offering and strongly representative of his general style and work ethic. buy it, you won't regret it.
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on January 16, 2012
As a long time fan of Patrick O'Hearn, I can confidently say he gets better with age. If you like "So Flows the Current", and "Beautiful World", you will find that Transitions surpasses both for meaningful serenity. Borrowing long, sustained, minimal pianoscapes from "Slow Time", the sound washes over the soul as a calm embrace. I'd say that O'hearn has surpassed Steve Roach and even Harold Budd in my pantheon of Ambient masters. A life-changing, "Must Have".
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I went through a big new age kick in the 80s. I have about 50 CDs that sit in a corner gathering dust. There was a sameness to the music that at some point clicked off as being interesting. Patrick O'Hearn is an artist whose music I began to listen to while that genre still had legs for me, but his music has never been placed in the corner and still has a pulse and energy that sets it apart. Yes, there are beautiful sonic washes such as on the opener "Reaching Land," but O'Hearn always creates a tensiveness with the percussion booms to keep it interesting. "Patterns" seems like a quieter cousin of "Tubular Bells" with its building chimes. "Flight" is a gorgeous track that brings to mind Jimmy Webb's gorgeous title track from his 1974 album Land's End; O'Hearn gives us a similar sense of freedom in flight and the track marries a lovely melody to a great atmospheric arrangement. O'Hearn opened with "Reaching Land" and then "Flight" and creates another wonderful track with "Sea" that might well be the soundtrack as one sits on the beach contemplating the vastness of the ocean and the smallness of man. "Transitions" is a beautiful contemplative album filled with colors and emotions. Enjoy!
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on December 27, 2011 one of the most beautiful musical recordings I've ever heard. I cannot stop listening to has been in repeat mode in my cd player since I purchased it. Get it by all will NOT be disappointed.
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on October 24, 2015
I recently purchased Patrick O"Hearn's "TRANSISTIONS CD. Having been a on again/off again musical observer, I found this release sparse yet textural. Mr. O'Hearn re-visits a composition first released in 1980. Frontiers ...on the Columbia Records GROUP 87 album. Having listened to Ancient Dreams and a multitude of other musical outputs...Frontiers is the most rewarding.
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on December 7, 2011
Patrick O'Hearn's music has always been like chicken soup for the soul to me. His beautiful, haunting melodies don't invoke momentary happiness or sadness, but instead a true feeling of being uplifted and inspired that stick with you, even after you've been done listening for a while.

Mr. O'Hearn reminds me a little bit of Pixar... Each of his albums is amazing, and could almost be better than the last one if the last one could even be topped! There are never any albums I do not play often, nor are there ever any songs I skip. Same with his new masterpiece "Transitions."

Just like with any great album, you'll have to listen to it multiple times to really soak it all in. You'll love it on first listen, but the more you listen, the deeper the music gets. It's best to dedicate a good amount of time to listening this album without distractions. I truly enjoy it through headphones with no distractions, or turned up loud in my car stereo when driving!

The title track, 'Reaching Land' is ... epic! It constantly builds up and ends with many beautiful sounds and melodies. 'Playground' lives up to it's name as a playful, uplifting song with great sounds used with the instruments and melody. 'Patterns' is an absolute gem. The notes all go together to create one complex melody that is haunting and wonderful. The ending track, 'Frontiers Revisited' is a masterpiece. I am not much of a musical person (just a listener) so please bear with my descriptions as best you can, hehe, and take my word for it... This is ambient music that will inspire you, that you will get addicted to, and that will make you think!!!

I have a little rule that I don't listen to my favorite music as I drive to work because I find that when I listen to the music again, it reminds me of work! But I have been breaking this rule the past week or so. I just can't help it... This album is so great!!!
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on January 10, 2013
I discovered Patrick O'Hearn in the early to middle '90s and was immediately drawn to his music. There has just been something appealing about his stuff that I can't really put a finger on. Like most artists, his creativity bends and flexes over time, producing different sounds at different points in their career. Most musicians' output doesn't run in a straight line; there are twists and turns along the way. Tangerine Dream is a fine example of this. Some people won't listen to anything they produced after about 1980, and that's okay: to each their own. In Patrick O'Hearn's case, Glaciation sounds nothing like Trust. Interestingly enough, Transitions sounds, at least to me, like he's bending back toward his older sound. It felt familiar from the first play, whereas it took me a while to adjust to Glaciation. I enjoy both and play them regularly, along with the entire Patrick O'Hearn catalog.
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on January 30, 2014
Transitions is another great album by Patrick O'Hearn, who started his career as a jazz bass player and has transitioned into more of a composer, with an emphasis on very mellow music. Transitions, like his previous works, are great for listening in the headphones when I'm working on the computer and don't want to be distracted. O'Hearn's music gets me in the zone for concentration.
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