Posts Tagged ‘Patrick O’Hearn’

David Helpling & Jon Jenkins’ CD of the Month Hat Trick

December 2, 2013


FoundHear it featured tonight 12/2, on Echoes.

The next time you watch an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones, mute the TV sound and dial up David Helpling and Jon Jenkins’ Found . You won’t need Ned Stark’s honor, Daenerys Stormborn’s dragon’s roars or Ramin Djawadi’s serviceable score to take you on a cinematic trip that will bring you from Westeros to beyond the Wall. Found is the third part of a trilogy, and it’s as grand as any fantasy epic.

Following Treasure and The Crossing, both previous CD of the Month picks, Found marks the end of a six year odyssey for the two veteran musicians, both of whom made their mark as solo artists first.  Helpling is primarily a guitarist and Jenkins a synthesist, but their worlds merge in their 21st century electronic orchestra. Yet, as modern as they sound, the shadows of Patrick O’Hearn’s 1980s recordings are in every corner of this music.  You can hear it right away on “The Opening.”  A surging rhythm, a snaky underlying bass line and a sparse melody made up of layered synthesizers are all hallmarks of Patrick O’Hearn from his influential recordings on Private Music.  David Helpling and Jon Jenkins create a welcome extension of that sound.

David Helpling & Jon Jenkins in Helpling's SoCal studio for Echoes.

David Helpling & Jon Jenkins in Helpling’s SoCal studio for Echoes.

David Helping’s electric guitar is a defining voice for the duo.  He doesn’t take any flashy solos.  Instead, he etches ringing arpeggios and morphing textures.  Even when he whips out some screaming sustained clarion calls on the grand climax of “Lost,” it’s mixed in the distance.

Unlike on their previous albums, Helping and Jenkins head into deep space on one track, the 13-minute “Only Ashes.”  Beat and percussion free, it moves on a slow dirge of space organ pads and long, Robert Fripp-like guitar sustains before slowly breaking orbit and rising into diaphanous space.

Treasure If things weren’t ominous enough, the title track floats on a spare sequencer pattern that is pounded by thunderstruck piano chords signaling imminent demise, reinforced by the angelic, though possibly avenging, voice of Miriam Stockley of Adiemus and AOMusic fame. Helpling and Jenkins stack her wordless cries in a wash of deep reverb that turns her pure soprano into a wraithlike choir that’s almost not recognizable as voice, sounding more like a complex synthesizer patch.

CrossingDavid Helpling and Jon Jenkins’ Found brings an orchestral approach to electronic music, where the orchestra is completely plugged-in, the timbres otherworldly, and the percussion tracks swept in on storms.  It’s a great CD of the Month to end 2013.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))


FoundJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club now and you can put David Helping and Jon Jenkins’ Found under somebodies Christmas tree.  It’s our December  CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.



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Patrick O’Hearn leads Echoes Top 25

November 1, 2011

Patrick O’Hearn’s Transitions, our Echoes CD of the Month, leads Echoes Top 25 for October.

This month’s list is definitely plugged in, especially the Top 10 with Patrick O’Hearn (read review), Jeff Oster, Bryan Carrigan, Jon Durant, David and Steve Gordon, Steve Hackett and Falling You all being heavily electronic.  Even when acoustic instruments are played as on trumpeter Jeff Oster, guitarist Jon Durant and guitarist Steve Hackett, things are pretty heavily processed.  There’s no fewer than six vocal recordings on the list, although calling Akara’s wordless vocals with lyrics written by the “luminous beings” might be pushing it.   Akara’s Extradimensional Ethnography will top this month’s list as our CD of the Month for November.  One musician is on the list twice.  Keyboardist/programmer Bryan Carrigan has his own CD, but he’s also all over Jeff Oster’s Surrender, nearly all of which he co-composed.  That was the September CD of the Month.

Here’s the Top Ten.  You can see the entire Echoes Top 25 for October.

  1. Patrick O’Hearn – Transitions (Patrick O’Hearn Music)
  2. Johanna and the Dusty Floor – Northern Lights (Johanna and the Dusty Floor)
  3. Jeff Oster – Surrender (Retso Records)
  4. Bryan Carrigan – Passing Lights (Peonies Music)
  5. Keith Medley – Ride (Keith Medley)
  6. Bill Frisell – All We Are Saying (Savoy Jazz)
  7. Jon Durant – Dance of the Shadow Planets (Alchemy Records)
  8. David and Steve Gordon – Groove Tribe (Sequoia Records)
  9. Steve Hackett – Beyond the Shrouded Horizon (InsideOut Music)
  10. Falling You – Adore (Falling You)

John Diliberto ((( echoes ))) 

Hear Patrick O’Hearn’s Transitions featured on Echoes Monday October 3

You get great CDs like Patrick O’Hearn’s Transitions by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.

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Patrick O’Hearn Transitions Echoes CD of the Month.

September 30, 2011

Echoes Icon Patrick O’Hearn returns with Transitions, The Echoes CD of the Month for October

From the opening notes of “Reaching Land,”  an echoing piano against a delayed pulse, it’s obvious that Transitions is a Patrick O’Hearn album.  It brings up memories of CDs like Indigo and Metaphor with its dark melancholy, hushed lyricism  and synth pads of doom.  But that’s not to say that Transitions is a retread. Instead it takes him further out on a trail that began in 1985 with his solo debut, Ancient Dreams.  That was on Private Music.  More than any other artist on that label, O’Hearn lived up to that spirit with deeply personal, introspective recordings.  He said he composed that first album alone in hotel rooms while touring with Missing Persons.  Just him, a synthesizer and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

In that regard, it seems not much has changed.  Each track on Transitions is a deep exploration of mood.  “Restless” pulses with an insistent percussive rhythm while the somnolent melody is carried by O’Hearn on electric bass and arco double bass.  It’s one of those tunes that manages to be mournful and quietly triumphal at the same time.

Transitions retains some of the spartan textures of Glaciation, his austere album of ambient chamber music from 2007.  There are no big crescendos and the layers aren’t quite as thick as on his classic albums.  Even the surging groove of “Reaching Land” is muted.  Instead, he lets his melodies stand on their own, like the acoustic “Well Mannered” a trio for acoustic bass, piano and classical guitar, the latter played by Bryan Johnson. It’s a nice contrast to the more synth laden sounds of most of Transitions .

O’Hearn was never just a synthesis, but a bassist who had played modern jazz with Joe Henderson, beyond modern rock with Frank Zappa and new wave pop with Missing Persons.  It’s one reason all his albums have such a strong melodic sensibility. A lot of electronic music becomes dated, but not Patrick O’Hearn’s.  Transitions is an album that you’ll keep coming back to, in those quiet moments when you need some private music.   There’s a good reason why he was voted an Icon of Echoes.

John Diliberto ((( echoes ))) 

Hear Patrick O’Hearn’s Transitions featured on Echoes Monday October 3

You get great CDs like Patrick O’Hearn’s Transitions by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news.


An Icon of Echoes Returns: Patrick O’Hearn.

July 7, 2011

Patrick O'Hearn's Indigo

Patrick O’Hearn has been a mainstay on Echoes from the beginning.  In fact, his music is one of the reasons why Echoes was created.  It’s been four years since his last release during which time he’s been touring and recording with John Hiatt. But he’s getting a new album ready for a late summer release called Transistions.  A teaser song and video of “Reaching Land”  reveals the artist splitting the difference between his darker Indigo-era moods and the more austere chamber sound of Glaciation.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Patrick O’Hearn #3 of 20 Icons of Echoes

December 23, 2009

51W5YQ912WL._SL500_AA240_ This past fall Echoes listeners voted on 20 Icons for 20 Years of Echoes.   Tonight we’ll be featuring their #3 selection on that list, Patrick O’Hearn.

Two See a list of 5 Essential Patrick O’Hearn Albums, go here.

Two see the complete list of 20 Icons of Echoes, go here.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))
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Top 5 Patrick O’Hearn Albums

September 23, 2009

We celebrate a master of Mood and ambience with Patrick O’Hearn-Then & Now

Patrick O’Hearn has been one of the defining voices of modern electronic music.  Until the rise of Yanni, he was the signature artists of the Private Music label.  Since his debut album, Ancient Dreams in 1985, he’s continued releasing finely crafted, deeply textured music on CDs like Eldorado and So Flows the Current. There’s a depth to Patrick O’Hearn’s music that comes from a wide range of experience, from straight ahead jazz with Charles Lloyd to MTV pop with Missing Persons; from sarcastic rock and roll with Frank Zappa to ethereal new age on his own.  The fact that he’s a fine bassist as well as keyboardist has always given O’Hearn’s music a darker, soulful edge.  Patrick is one of the Icons of Echoes, and 25 years later, his first album still sounds as seductive and timeless as his latest.  O’Hearn has been keeping a low profile for most of this century.  We’ll be featuring his music next Wednesday  on Echoes.


51W5YQ912WL._SL500_AA240_1 Eldorado
This isn’t the obvious choice, but it’s an album that showed O’Hearn pushing back on expectations.  So much so that it’s the release that began his exit from the Private Music label.  Eldorado bristles with rhythmic drive on tracks like “Amazon Waltz” and “Nepalese Tango,” and dark, threatening atmospheres on the title track and “Black Delilah.  O’Hearn was so far ahead of the Persian fusion curve that it hadn’t been drawn yet.  Shahla Sarshar‘s impassioned vocal on “Hear Our Prayer” lifts to the skies.  “Delicate,” with the layered wordless vocals of Ina Wolf may be the most purely beautiful song O’Hearn has recorded.

df70124128a06653dbf49010.L2 Ancient Dreams
Patrick O’Hearn’s 1985 album, Ancient Dreams was a road map of mood and mystery.  Using percussion samples and the breathy voices of the PPG Wave synthesizer, his compositions combined the earthy darkness of African music, but with haunting melodies that hinted at places either just beyond our perceptions, or perhaps deep inside.   It was the second release on Private Music and established the early identity of the label. I’d say it was the best album they released.

51ZSV7JFQ4L._SL500_AA240_3 Indigo
Indigo was Patrick O’Hearn’s swan song on Private Music and may be his most perfectly realized album.  He proves himself a master of mood on “Devil’s Lake,” which rolls ominously like an empty train at midnight or “Upon the Wings of Night,” with Mark Isham’s mournful flugelhorn cast against a wash of synthesizers, drones and mysterious punctuations.  “The Ringmaster’s Dream” seduces you with slow motion melodies, only to pull back the curtains to reveal a carnival midway that’s part funhouse, part Kurt Weill, and part  the Beatles’ “Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite” with its swirling calliope.

patrickohearn64 So Flows the Current
There was a more organic feel to So Flows the Current than in past O’Hearn albums.  He said they used no MIDI or sequencing on the album and I believe it.  Although O’Hearn’s music has never sounded wooden, the textures here roll more naturally, the nuances of performance are a bit more telling. And then there’s the guitar of Peter Maunu.  His mostly acoustic strings are a warm sound in the grey field of O’Hearn’s arrangements. Maunu explodes into “Northwest Passage” with rippling arpeggios over a snake bitten desert groove.

patrickohearn5 Trust
This was his first album on his own Deep Cave label and it picked up on themes from Indigo with rich layers of synthesizers, often outlined by the rubbery melodies of his electric and acoustic basses.   O’Hearn is helped out by some old friends on a few tracks including Zappa/Missing Persons mate Terry Bozzio and guitarists Peter Maunu and David Torn. But they are just part of O’Hearn’s textures as he creates moods of dark foreboding and menace.  Percussive rhythms tug on the subconscious like a primal shadow, yet beneath it all is a sense of resigned heroism that marks the difference between despair and affirmation.

I could of easily picked a least three other O’Hearn albums to put in this list.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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