Review: Patrick Gallagher – Soundtracks (Hot Releases, Sep 13)

On Soundtracks, sound artist Patrick Gallagher once again demonstrates the virtuosic control he exerts over an array of abstract sound objects. This new release feels much more moist and earthy than last year’s Eye Teeth LP, and though I’m never certain just how much of Gallagher’s music is composed or improvised, it also seems less instantaneous. Something that both releases share, though, is a palpable physicality, and on Soundtracks, as the label’s description states, a variety of “liminal psychic spaces” are explored. On “There Is No Set Process,” a battle between pleasantness and discomfort rages, as soothing, slightly wavering organ drones, footsteps on old wood floors, and clanging bells temper an otherwise uneasy mixture of closely recorded mouth sounds, distant rattles, and dissonant string plucks. Within the dense, dark sound-world of “Clearing” the discomfort definitely wins out, and the result is a shifting piece that moves like a series of languorous inhales and exhales. Something else that returns from Eye Teeth, especially in the case of “Clearing,” is Gallagher’s deliberate, sublime use of silence, which allows for the music to unfold into an even more expansive space.