Alan Gleeson | Beyond Torneo Vol. II
Let In Music (DL)
Part two of Beyond Torneo a three month release project in which Irish composer Alan Gleeson describes as “Themes such as neglect, decay, stagnation, and pollution of the real and imagined experience are explored. These themes are not necessarily the final destination, the work is the experience of traversing these zones.” Based in Southern Spain, Gleeson released Beyond Torneo Vol. I last month, and watch for the conclusion in this triptych next month. Broken into two tracks (Zone 3 and Zone 4) this opens with a warping sound wave that rounds itself out. It’s a reverbing drone that finds a bassline and unfurls into a minimal signature.
The sound, the vibration, sounds as if he is putting his foot on a gas pedal, removing, and repeating. He’s creating an effortless, contorted minimalism with a wide-open range. Gleeson’s improvised possibilities flex into a cosmic space once he has warmed-up. The ear will appreciate the unknowns of shape casting the setting as concave or convex, it’s ambiguously difficult to detect, though he’s most definitely shapeshifting the sonic space. It expands, it contracts, and in the meantime manages to trigger a whole lot of bizarre ‘space junk’ frequencies, with a few brief, barely detectable nods to progressive alt rock. And it’s the softer, dusty and granular spots ‘tween that hold all the critical matter together here – so no part of the mix is taken for granted, even in repose.
Gleeson, for these ears is quite a discovery, and this may be your first opportunity to hear him in earnest as well – though let me tell you, his twenty years dedicated to creating such acoustic environments has really paid off on this release. It grabs hold of your imagination like a culmination of so many of the best sci-fi records of the past several decades. I’m thinking of a variety of work by Jerry Goldsmith in particular – though not as obviously ‘commercial’ sounding. There’s this strange use of signal separation that acts as if there is some sort of analysis in progress, he’s opening various chambers, and moving the listener through this space, gradually in a slow-going series of tread. The amplification stylistically shifts with warble and slight feedback making me wonder about the physical im/possibility of the making of the record.
The transition between ‘zones‘ was not detected in my examination of the recording, it flows right on through. What I do notice is in the latter track there is a bit more low-end which makes it seem a bit darker in tone overall. I’d imagine this could most definitely be adapted as a sleep concert style environment as Gleeson seems to have a true cool blend of ambient, drone and industrial frequencies that rev, whir, and sooth as a quasi white noise for long-play passages. In this way he has some in common with artists like David Jackman or Francisco López – breaching the balance between noise and split electronic harmonies. This will be one of those recommended listening works that has a serious presence, and resounding after effects.