|Profile: Patrick O'Hearn|
Patrick O'Hearn is an electronic musician exploring the more refined and elegant timbres of the synthesizer. His music is full of bright tones and majestic harmonies yet through the employ of earthy, ethnic rhythms and samples, he implants this music in firm soil - never soaring too far from terra firma.
O'Hearn's sonic signature has always been brief tight arrangements of clean melodies and harmonies over a determined rhythm section. With a head for electronics and a heart full of progrock, O'Hearn's structures offer both familiarity and his own distinctive sound. His music has presence, giving place a sound and memory a song - powerful music experienced in the mind but felt by the body.
|Patrick O'Hearn first came on the New Age Music scene in 1985 with the instant-classic Ancient Dreams. Having his next four solo recordings also released through the now legendary Private Music label solidly distinguished O'Hearn as the standard by which all else in this style would be measured. Today, his sonic pallette remains among the most distinctive in modern music with his roots as a bass player anchoring these evocative works in an organic firmament. Anyone familiar with O'Hearn's early recordings will notice many of the ingredients which make his signature sound so immediately identifiable still present. Those new to his work will discover a unique artist long recognized as a defining component in the field of Contemporary Instrumental Music.|
|While O'Hearn is often labeled an Electronic Musician. He considers himself to be more, "I myself see bass as my principal instrument, both acoustic and electric. Keyboards are my means of arrangement." O'Hearn's world class abilities as a bassist were first put to good use as he rose to notice in the mid 70's while working for pop music iconoclast Frank Zappa. With the 80's came Group 87 - which, along with O'Hearn, included the likes of Mark Isham, Peter Maunu and Terry Bozzio. This led to a stint in pop-music's Missing Persons. Over the years, O'Hearn has had the good fortune to have played with and been influenced by a number of distinctive artists including: Ravi Shankar, Carlos Santana, Robbie Robertson, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Charles Lloyd, Joe Henderson, Tony Williams, Joe Pass and David Torn. O'Hearn's work reflects all of these experiences within the context of a highly personal electronic sound.|
With the 2003 release of Beautiful World, O'Hearn is seeking out venues in which to present this music live, " I've already made some inquiries with musicians and have three other players who could join me to put this show on the road, a drummer who also plays mallets and keyboards, a keyboardist who also plays percussion, a guitarist, and myself, on bass, keys and percussion. I believe we could do a faithful reproduction of the material as well as have some fun stretching out with it. I hope it comes to fruition, it's been too long since I last got out and hit the road."
|Selected Reviews: Patrick O'Hearn|
Review: Beautiful World (2003) by Patrick O'Hearn
It is a beautiful world, though perhaps not the honey-colored, sunshine-dappled landscape that the title might imply. More than blossoming flowers and gentle breezes, Patrick O'Hearn paints a picture that embraces the dank, fecund undergrowth where life is formed. His music is textural, roiling with atmosphere, but not buried in it. Joined once again by longtime musical compatriot, guitarist Peter Maunu, O'Hearn conjures up Ennio Morricone dipped in an ambient bath on tracks like "Magnificent River." His electro-grooves range from the sensual on "Facing the Sun" to the demonic on "Night Becomes Her." Taking a cue from Erik Satie simplicity, O'Hearn employs melody sparingly, as if he's hoarding the last bottle of water in the Sahara. Which makes it all the more powerful when he finally deploys it creating the crescendo of the title track. A former bassist with Frank Zappa, member of the pop band Missing Persons, and a charter member of the new age Private Music label, O'Hearn's breadth of experience has always set him apart from his peers and that's still apparent on Beautiful World.
by John Diliberto
Review: So Flows the Current (2001) by Patrick O'Hearn
On his first solo album in over four years, composer and multi-instrumentalist Patrick O'Hearn continues along the meditative path forged by his two previous solo efforts, Trust and Metaphor. This time, however, he eschews the use of samples and sequencing in favor of live performances. O'Hearn has been known for blending a wide range of styles into his work, from jazz to world to pop, but here he focuses on organic ambience. At first listen, Current might not seem that different from his recent efforts, but successive listens enhance the simple spaciousness that permeates these nine tracks. The hypnotic, nine-minute epic "A Lovely Place to Be" consists solely of quiet synths and acoustic guitar; "Beyond This Moment" interweaves gentle acoustic guitar with sparse, reverberant piano and subliminal guitar textures; and the forlorn "Cold Sea's Embrace" spotlights cello soloist Pat Johnston, making the strings-only composition a splendid album standout. On various other cuts Peter Maunu lends his acoustic, electric, and lap-steel guitar playing while Robin Tolleson contributes percussion and O'Hearn plays acoustic and electric bass, keyboards, flute, cello, and percussion. It may not be a groundbreaking release, but So Flows the Current offers subtle, unadorned pleasures.
by Bryan Reesman