Presented as a re-creation of two live sets performed in 2019, Patrick Gallagher deftly melds field recordings, a “fairly standard” synthesis toolkit, and prepared electric guitar into two peerless electro-acoustic compositions comprising his debut for the enmossed x psychic liberation (ENXPL) series.
As the album’s title implies, “Set In the Bardo” embraces indeterminacy in all respects. An extreme range of timbral variety and complexity is employed, from pure sine waves to nearly-incomprehensible sonic blasts. With a formal education in mathematics, Gallagher’s astute arrangements modulate between smooth glissendos and abrupt interruptions, reflecting the compositional process used: salvaging hitherto-abandoned recordings and live snippets from the artist’s archive. Post-processing was eschewed on the album in order to preserve the improvisatory nature of a live performance, giving an organic quality to the album which is often lost in academic compositions.
While “Set In the Bardo” was created in pre-pandemic times, it also functions well at this particular juncture of history. We have been ‘set in the bardo’ ourselves, and Gallagher has made an engrossing set of pieces – encapsulating and unfolding sonic uncertainties as we venture through trying times. Well worth many listening sessions; high volume and high fidelity during playback are recommended.
Patrick Gallagher is a sound artist and composer currently residing in Philadelphia, PA. Gallagher arose from the North Carolina avant-garde underground, perfecting compositional processes with numerous live performances; as well as cassette and vinyl releases on Tone Log, Hot Releases, Refulgent Sepulchre, and other independent labels.