"Hypnotic and engaging minimalism!" - World Of Metal
Malcom Galloway from Hat’s Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate is back on his own, this time with EP. As in “Transitions”, his solo approach embarks more on more minimalist and electronic paths, but that progressive depth remains omnipresent. This is an EP just because it has three themes since as far as duration is concerned, it could very well be an album. The sound of the title theme (and in general) reminds Mike Oldfield of the good old days, something that also the final theme (and bonus) of almost forty minutes transports us to that imaginary. Hypnotic and engaging minimalism!
"A brilliantly composed neo-classical release" - Homonculus Media
UK composer and musician Malcolm GALLOWAY is probably best known for his role in progressive rock band Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate, but for several years he have also released music as a solo artist, and then inside the realm of minimalist classical music. "Wasp 76b" is the most recent of these ventures, and was released through the label Glass Castle Recordings towards the end of 2020.
While this is described as an EP, with the main tracks clocking in at 20 minutes or so, there's a bonus track available with the EP as well, a creation that clocks in at a staggering 40 minutes in length. An album's length worth of music then, even if the core material itself stops at the 20 minute mark.
The opening creation 'Chrysalis' features a delicate strings overlay backed by percussion and piano in a subtle atonal manner, with careful but nervous and intense raindrop style guitar details added in, the latter seguing over to a more fixed and firm mode of delivery that adds a nice bit of tension prior to the conclusion.
The somewhat longer "Wasp 76b', presumably inspired by the discovery of a planet where one can experience wonders such as rainfalls of molten iron, is probably the composition that will interest progressive rock fans more than the rest. The heart of this song revolves around a jazz-tinged drum foundation, an ongoing bass-line that gave me associations to "Church Of..." era Hawkwind and nervous guitar details of the kind that made me think of Robert Fripp, with percussion, string arrangements and the piano weaving in and out and in between. Quite the hypnotic creation, as well as being both fluid and tension-filled.
The bonus track 'The Haber Process' is probably the creation here that will have a more limited appeal. Revolving around percussion, plucked guitar and piano in nervous loose patterns with moments where one instrument solidifies briefly and veers off again, adding a voice effect and orchestral details that will come and go in the first half of the composition, while in the second half a bass is thrown in as well, and the composition gradually solidifying for longer stretches of time as well as instrument details coming and going for more extended periods of time as well, just about completely solidifying into a harmonic whole at the very end. The patterns are hypnotic but repetitive, and despite all the movement from the individual instruments and inside the patterns this is also a one-dimensional beast. Minimalist, subtle and striking: A true gem for the right mind, but also the kind of music that can get on people's nerves in a major way. One might guess that this is the reason for why this is a bonus track on an EP rather than the main track of an album.
A certain taste for minimalist music is needed to be able to enjoy this extended length EP, and while I suspect the total audience for a production of this kind will be somewhat limited in scope, those who get the music and are able to immerse themselves in these more expressive yet also relatively minimalist landscapes will find a lot to enjoy here. Progressive rock fans with a taste for expressive, minimalist and avant-garde oriented material is to my mind the most likely key audience for this production, and I'd recommend those who recognize themselves in such a description to have a listen to this one, starting with the title track 'Wasp 76b'.
Olav "Progmessor" Björnsen, January 2021
"A very well crafted piece of music." Review by Jonny Bakes, Uber-Rock
Having already reviewed the Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate EP, it would be incredibly rude of me to overlook the solo release from one of the main men, Malcolm Galloway. Now Malcolm’s solo stuff is significantly different to the creations of Hats Off, so if you come into this expecting more of the same then you will be in for quite a shock! Instead, Malcolm composes intricate pieces of minimalist/classical music for his solo releases such as this latest effort, ‘Wasp 76b’.
If you go in with the right expectations, it’s a lot easier to appreciate the subtleness of the work. The intent for these is not to produce music that’ll storm the charts or be a regular song on your gym playlist, instead this is music for those who really appreciate music in its core forms. You could almost go as far as to say that this is music for musicians.
‘Wasp 76b’ consists of two new tracks and a bonus addition of the 40-minute epic ‘The Haber Process’ from the album ‘Still Life’. As the latter has been around for quite a while, I’ll just be focusing on the two new tracks in this review as I’m sure you can listen to ‘The Haber Process’ and make up your own minds about that one.
The EP opens with the aptly named ‘Chrysalis’ which is a gentle piece that expresses the serenity of being cocooned in the protective environment of the chrysalis before it begins to take a more foreboding turn as it heralds the emergence of the wasp and ultimately ending with a sense of relief and freedom. The strings dominate the sound of ‘Chrysalis’ and it’s through the effective use of these instruments that you really can feel the changes in mood as the song develops. Now the title track, ‘Wasp 76b’ is something completely different. It’s a fast and complicated piece of music that has this intense hectic feel to it, much like the erratic flight of a wasp. With the use of futuristic synthesizer samples it feels almost like a space-age answer to ‘The Flight of the Bumblebee’ in the way it combines that frantic pace with futuristic elements.
If you combine both of these tracks with the visual elements provided on the album cover, which closely resembles the work of M.C. Escher, this helps complete the picture and allows you to simply sit back and visualise the elements as the album plays through. Now obviously this isn’t going to be something you’ll crack out at parties (unless you and I go to very different parties) but it is a very well crafted piece of music that deserves a listen. And as far as contemporary classical/minimalist music goes, this is one of the better examples I’ve heard. Although I would admit that my experience in that field is somewhat limited, ‘Wasp 76b’ is an album that encourages me to delve deeper into that rabbit hole to see what else is out there!
"Utilising his dab-hand with the studio and its technology, Malcolm Galloway produces moving and energetic electronic compositions. This award-winning musician and his headline-grabbing music work together to continue the journey into artistic sound destinations. Abstraction greets form and beauty in a shimmering dance of juxtaposition in emotion. This phenomenal and room-filling sound knits together a soundscape which tingles the mind.... The Electro Review
Malcolm Galloway - Wasp 76b
Let's take a trip back to the beginning of the month when Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate's Malcolm Galloway released a brand new solo work on Bandcamp. Not afraid to push the boat out, this side-project takes a whole new direction. Utilising his dab-hand with the studio and its technology, Malcolm Galloway produces moving and energetic electronic compositions. This single establishes a vein that began in the thread of his previous album, which no-longer stands quite so alone. This award-winning musician and his headline-grabbing music work together to continue the journey into artistic sound destinations.
With an ensemble of phonics on horn and string, the classical swish of orchestrated pleasure generates its mood. Splatterings of bell reminisce while dappled notes form a spongy bed. Abstraction greets form and beauty in a shimmering dance of juxtaposition in emotion. Raindrops of harmony scatter through twisting clouds which strain against the natural flow of the sky. A musical adventure unfolds as new horizons shape themselves in hidden moments now alive. Terrain awash with poignant humdrum and peaks of interest fly past in moments of photographic charm. This is Chrysalis and it's like the birth of a flying fraction of the universe incarnate. Building molecules together according to predetermined instructions in order to experience the life of a separate individual.
Next is Wasp 76b. This starts like a daydream, piano-like tones dance and fluoresce within neat corners that are enchanted by mirrors. As extra dimensions spill from the narrow perspective and the seemingly eternal quality of light, passages and perspectives align themselves according the the fundamental portioning system within space and time. A masterpiece of progression, the music gradually forms new layers and platforms within, from which fountains of sound are able to flourish. Sparkling melody and lively harmonics joyously adorn a smooth tempo with quick and spritely compositions. A wave of sound builds as it travels through the bars and atop the body of kinesis sits a continually changing scene of exchange and complimentary adjustment.
We are talking a decent 20 minute release despite there being two tracks. This phenomenal and room-filling sound knits together a soundscape which tingles the mind while letting it wander into its own agenda. Not too little, not too much.
"Packed to the rafters with endlessly dovetailing segments that whizz and whirr with pulse-quickening excitement. Harnessing the power of Reich-like repetition there's both depth and warmth that builds to deliver a coercive momentum. The key components running throughout the three pieces over 47 minutes consist of trickling rivulets of piano and keyboard motifs, which ripple and funnel through chattering marimba, twinkling guitar harmonics, plucked chords, the slow undertow of cello-like strings and woodwind, and the ebb and flow of cymbals and kit drums. The latter especially adds a certain fluidity and useful metrical focus. While accepting that a lot of systems-orientated pieces are often relegated to the status of aural wallpaper, Galloway's ingenious flow of rhythm and melody ensure these tracks are anything but background music." Sid Smith, Prog Magazine
Sid Smith - Pick Of The Year list, Prog Magazine 2019