Patrick O’hearn- Glaciation
(Two Dog Media)

From Aural Innovations #38 (Jan 2008)

As with his previous albums, Glaciation continues O’Hearn’s exploration of mood and atmosphere through a self-determined minimalist approach to sound construction. O’Hearn’s sonorous bass lines are, as always, his primary mode of expression on the thirteen tracks that make up Glaciation. However, his addition of Hawaiian steel guitar provides a unique focus for many of Glaciation’s more somber pieces. His restrained use of synth and piano on the elegant, almost Satie-esque “Our Temperable Host” creates an artful contrast to the typical O’Hearn soundscape we’ve come to expect from previous releases. The unresolved sustaining chords evoke a sense of quiet awe well-suited to the arctic theme of Glaciation. Like other projects with a similar “frozen landscape” concept (Vangelis’ Antarctica, Richard Pinhas’ Iceland and Danna & Clement’s A Gradual Awakening all come to mind) Glaciation’s pieces evoke the majesty and austerity of terrain largely untouched by the footprint of humankind. Though not composed explicitly for cinematic purposes, many of the tracks on Glaciation achieve a kind of cinematic grandeur in their slow, solemn pace toward harmonic resolution: the ambient drift of “The Approaching Ice” and “Beneath the Celestial Sphere” deftly reminds the listener that music after all is essentially programmatic in nature. With Glaciation O’Hearn has undeniably captured a sonic photograph of the soul of the arctic continent: its inscrutable mystery and its overwhelming wonder is etched painter-like into the tableau these 13 tracks come together to form.

Check out the band web site at: htpp://

Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree

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