Gareth Quinn Redmond: Laistigh den Ghleo – homage to an ambient pioneer
Laistigh den Ghleo
Gareth Quinn Redmond
If you’re not a fan of ambient minimalism, it’s unlikely that you’ll have heard of Satoshi Ashikawa, or his 1982 album Still Way (Wave Notation 2). The Japanese composer is regularly cited as a pioneer of the so-called “Japanbient” genre. Almost four decades later, that album’s influence has stretched as far as Irish composer Gareth Quinn Redmond, whose latest work is a “conceptually derived” homage, now released in conjunction with Ashikawa’s work on an independent Swiss label.
For the casual listener, much of it will probably come across as elegant background noise. The 11-minute-long title track slowly ekes out moments of beauty but fails to hit any emotional bull’s-eye. An Gairdín Uirbeach is altogether more engaging, with Redmond’s playful tinkle of piano tussling with glistening strings that grow more intense by the second.
Luaineach similarly adds texture to the album’s pristine palette, the coarseness of violin offset by the piano’s delicate chime. It’s hard to see how this album might appeal to those unfamiliar with the concept of “environmental music” – a genre cultivated to “engage, enrich and reflect the listener’s surroundings” – but it’s certainly a meditative way to spend 41 minutes.