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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PATRICK O'HEARN: Transitions (2011)

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

It's a collection of musical poems about loneliness, dreams and the torments

1 Reaching Land 5:21

2 Courage 3:21

3 Playground 4:04

4 Restless 6:06

5 Patterns 4:44

6 Well-Mannered 5:32

7 Flight 5:15

8 Sea 5:29

9 Frontiers Revisited 4:48

(CD/DDL 44:49) (V.F.)

(EM, New Age, OST)

A bit like a friend we lost track of and memories of, Patrick O'Hearn gets back to us with a magnificent gift, TRANSITIONS. Whether it's a timeless journey or an insatiable desire to reconnect with his melancholic and poetic approach, the Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist is back after a 5-year absence. This album is in the same vein as his first works with dark melodies forged from hesitant chords and built around dramatic approaches. It's a splendid album where he uses his magic by revealing all the splendor of his harmonies which burst with an incredible musicality.

Reaching Land whets our appetite with a dark and melancholic melody. Delicate and hesitant notes of piano resonate and stroll on a soft synthesized waterfall that undulates with its waves, supported by fine bass pulsations. A synth breeze blows over chimes, uncovering subtle vocals that cling to this long sigh and pushing this wonderful ode for loners into a slow rhythm adorned with maracas-style of percussions. Floating between romance and sensuality, dream and melancholy, Reaching Land marries a bewitching down tempo that the bassist continues to embellish with clever percussions. Sometimes muffled and sometimes metallic, they push tender dramatic impulses enveloped by a synth of mist with a soft lyrical thin line, unique to his musical imprint. In the end, we have a splendid and amazing ballad, slow and suave just like Restless and its languid bass line. Courage continues to spread this gloomy melancholy with isolated piano notes wandering through a misty woodland edge. It's sad and reflective, like is Well-Mannered with its guitar duet revealing its notes in a state of bewilderment. There are even sighs and rustles, reminding us that angels may be watching over our shoulders.

Limpid arpeggios swirl finely in a delicate spiral tattooed with iridescent streaks and Playground twirls with tenderness under beautiful layers of mellotron violins. Violins that draw nice celestial impulses with waltz movements that wrap a strange carousel and a bewitching rhyme for anxious nights. Other crystal arpeggios open Patterns. They shimmer in a static sphere, dropping an embryonic melody that remains imprisoned in a cocoon woven in subtle harmonic variances, both in tone and in form. Piano notes escape from a circle of shimmering chords, tracing the dark approach of Flight. Deliciously the piano scatters its notes, as the petals of a rose fall, over a slow minimalist structure that a thin bass line wraps in a gentle tempered rhythm. Long black strata weave a dark aura while thin piano notes escape to wander in a heavy spectral atmosphere. Superb and very meditative, Sea drifts in a cosmic ocean where dreams and torments entwine in a slow ballet for the unloved. It is beautiful, poetic and dreamlike. Frontiers Revisited ends TRANSITIONS with another superb melody. More playful, it unfurls a spiral introduction to float on a cloud of mellotron mist, embraced by the soft chords of a lascivious bass and embellished by piano and marimba chords that sound like an unregulated clock.

Simply beautiful! TRANSITIONS is a collection of musical poems about loneliness, dreams and the torments of uncomfortable introspection. As musical as it is deeply moving, Patrick O'Hearn's latest opus revolves around 9 tracks imbued with such diverse musicality and so sensitive to the impulses of a nostalgia fed by sighs. I loved this album. I was delighted to discover these structures which had already bewitched me and of which I had forgotten the existence in my search of Berlin School. But we always come back home, right? For these memories that have piled up in the drawers of my memory that the wear of time has not erased. A pure marvel that can be savored with the blissful eyes of being in pleasant company.

Sylvain Lupari (November 9th, 2011) *****

Available at Patrick O'Hearn's WebShop

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