Glaciation. Even the word sounds slow. It sounds cold, imposing, and something so much bigger than we can fully understand.
For over 20 years, instrumentalist Patrick O’Hearn’s music, rooted primarily in keyboards and bass, has created soundscapes with his work. Following his turn as bassist for Missing Persons in the early 1980s, he ventured into a solo career that has shifted from New Age-lite, to dramatic soundtrack, to minimalist ambience.
His latest, the first since 2005’s Slow Time, captures the largess of its title so aptly in noticeably smaller musical bites. Unlike Slow Time, whose songs seemed to meld into a scene, the music in Glaciation creates the scene. It is by far the closest O’Hearn has come to presenting what I would associate with a soundtrack to major motion picture since 1991’s Indigo. Where that earlier work’s songs shaped dramatic images of great mansions and grand conspiracies, Glaciation instantly transports you to a very cold and foreboding place in nature.
Songs are kept short and simple, not entirely abandoning his recent minimalist approach while further emphasizing the soundtrack comparison. Some songs in the past, as was the case with “Music for Three Vibraphones,” on Slow Time, tended to drag out a little longer than they should. Here, every song seems to know when to hold ‘em and when to walk away.
Clearly, O’Hearn’s music is not for every one the same way not everyone will want to listen to an orchestrated soundtrack over one that features today’s pop hits. But, for those who enjoy music that is as much a part of the world around you as the world around you, very few have the talent and ability that Patrick O’Hearn has consistently displayed for two decades.