Metazoa One - Expose Online
While Galloway is a member of the British progressive rock band Hats Off Gentlemen, It’s Adequate, he is also a top-shelf minimalist composer working primarily with synthesizers, sequencers, and electronics, of which his latest Metazoa One is a prime example. The piece is a seventeen-plus minute single full of rippling electronics, dreamy larger-than-life chord sweeps, stuttering sequences, and myriad colorful melodic shapes that seemingly morph continuously along the trajectory of the piece, even fading to black a few minutes before the end only to fool the listener into thinking it’s over, rising from the ashes to start again. Surely the inspiration for this piece come from the best classic works of the late Klaus Schulze, though only in a stylistic sense, as Metazoa One goes to many interesting new shores that only guide the imagination forward and leave the listener stunned. Further out the listener can hear the shifting worlds of outer space, where wells of starlight creep into the travelers’ consciousness, sparking an endless curiosity for spatial worlds that spread out in every possible direction. I guess my only question is: why did Galloway stop the journey after only the length of an LP side? Certainly this piece could keep morphing and folding through space for another hour easily! And dig that cover art, also by Galloway. I suppose for the full effect a listener will need to follow my lead and run it on continuous repeat until they are satisfied. Beautiful sounds.
Meditative Musical Magician
This two-and-a-half hour juggernaut of minimalistic, meditative, classical, electronic music presents some brand-new material, as well as some music Dr. G previously created and especially likes, but not previously available on my favorite sampling platform, Bandcamp.
The “pattern” most noticeable to me is the general format of developing a track using repetitive piano, or marimba-, or xylophone, or string-sounds, often quick and sometimes rather complex, then adding layers- in his own words displaying again that dry sense of humor, “…obsessively developed small fragments of melodic material into slowly evolving emerging patterns…”- then developing these ever so subtly into sometimes quite lengthy compositions.
“Spiral“, for instance, clocks in at over 35 minutes, and several others are longer in development and duration- which accounts for some of the reason why I used words in the heading like “meditative” or “meticulous”, since the sort of music I typically listen to and review is progressive rock (thus the name Progressive Rock Fanatics), and here we have another genre, another creature entirely- rather than “sturm und drang” and musical bombast, Dr. G pours meticulous care into the tiniest changes and developments and details of this work.
This is not my usual playground, not among my usual genres, not my go-to sort of music to embrace when I have time to immerse myself.
Yet I can appreciate the artistry, the mastery, the devotion, the sense of healing through the media of music and art, the laser focus on living and contributing something of the deepest soul and essence, that Malcolm Galloway- Dr. G– offers us in this musical meditative juggernaut."
"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!
"The Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate frontman and producer, Malcolm Galloway, strikes back with his sixth solo studio album. Comprised of new and previously unreleased material, Patterns extends the artist's minimalist-classical direction into ever more impressive cartography. This phenomenal talent began his music career once he'd already become a doctor. A trained neuroscientist and biologist, Malcolm Galloway takes the intuitive nature of living systems to his musical compositions. The album's title, Patterns, directs to the correlation and tessellation of units within biological frameworks. Synchronising this concept yet further, the video track Kites and Darts is named after a type of Penrose Tiling, which is an aperiodic or non-uniform pattern that covers an entire surface.
A moving landscape enters with scattered notes hanging in loose harmony. Vivid and angular tones sway in folk-like chords and atmospheres. A magical formation of composed elegance grows like crystal as exciting twinges of key change lift the abstraction higher. Piano dances with its own shadow as the undercarriage of flow is released into ethereal quietude. Symbolic tones rise like submerged bells as the string section drifts on ambient clarity grasped within the ghostly and opaque storyline of piano. Hypnotic episodes of repetitive progression lean towards the glowing innards of expression as the motion picture glides from scene to scene with gradual enchantment."
"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