lundi 7 novembre 2011

PATRICK O'HEARN: Ancient Dreams (1985)

''The music of O’Hearn is unique and its melodies are simply mesmerizing''

1 At First Light 5:40
2 Beauty in Darkness 4:37
3 Unusual Climate 4:35
4 Life along the River Vaal 4:50
5 Ancient Dreams 6:07
6 Malevolent Landscape 4:53
7 Last Performance 1:54

Former bass player of Frank Zappa and keyboard player of Missing Persons, Patrick O'Hearn landed in the spheres of EM with a strange first album. A brand new kind of music with a rich sound fauna, Ancient Dreams was born to be famous because it was released on Private Music, the new label of Peter Baumann originally member of Tangerine Dream. The American press, in lack of artistic knowledge, catalogued then the universe of Patrick O'Hearn as being of New Age. That was a huge misinterpretation and I wasn’t ok with it. We have never found the good terms to put a name on the originality coming out of the Los Angeles’ bass player. The music of O Hearn is poles apart from free-jazz and tribal music with a fort penchant for dark and dramatic structures. Music as unique as its tones and black romanticism. A romanticism hardly revealed on Ancient Dreams but which will spatter on his next opuses.
Percussions suspended in the night meet fine keyboard keys and "At First Light" introduces this stunning sound fauna which supports the polymorphic rhythms of Ancient Dreams. Without precise rhythms and melodious lines, "At First Light" evolves in musical spheres soaked with paradoxes and harmonious fragments ringing and resounding among a panoply of percussions elements and sudden musical surges which burst under notes of a wavy-like bass and tick-tock a bit hypnotic. More concise, "Beauty in Darkness" is the first melody to emerge from the universe of Patrick O'Hearn. And still there the rhythm is also ambiguous with its tabla percussions which draw a bewitching tribal rhythm. A rhythmic approach which will become O’Hearn’s signature. Synth play is all in nuance. With fluty breaths in tones of celestial voices, this synth structures a harmonious approach which criss-crosses very melodious rhythmic bursts pushing "Beauty in Darkness" towards a finale with dramatic effects. "Unusual Climate" espouses a rhythm which is hardly peculiar. Slightly jerky and hardly explosive, it wriggles in a surprising fauna of percussions. Percussions rich in strikes and eclectic tones which sparkle and flank a sweet synth with a soft lyrical and harmonious net. It’s a track with a particular rhythm quite as "Malevolent Landscape" and its huge Be-bop sat on percussions to rich tones of glasses and a rhythm which moves stealthily forward. A little in the same vein as the introductory track, "Life along the River Vaal" is simply superb with its strange rhythmic approach where abrupt symphonic and dramatic crashes as well as the lightness of harmonies, made  out of suave synths and guitar chords, merge in a stunning melodious paradoxes. The title track, "Ancient Dreams", is the first from Patrick O'Hearn repertoire that have seduced me and for a very good reason. Solemn piano notes skip and sweep along an amazing fill of celestial breaths. Angel voices blow a wonderful timeless melody that percussions tear with big rolling knocks and that a symphonic synth calms. Moulded in a sensible crescendo "Ancient Dreams" evolve with a dramatic intensity, multiplying shivers and sighs of the soul. Magnificently beautiful! Dark and melodious, "Last Performance" is a short ballad which concludes this first rendezvous with the multicoloured universe of Patrick O' Hearn.
With its ambiguous rhythms and melodies scattered in a rich fauna of percussions, Ancient Dreams can seem difficult to tame. But the discovery is worth it. The music of O’Hearn is unique and its melodies are simply mesmerizing. As I did, you will have strong feelings for the title track, then for "Beauty in Darkness" and the rest will follow. As like when we discover an enchanting universe behind a forest to thousand tones mysteries.

Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream
*If you want to know more about Patrick O'Hearn, you can visit hisWebsite here:
*You can also view a nice video of Ancient Dreams here:

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