Nick Schofield’s latest album was composed on just one instrument: a vintage Prophet-600 synthesizer. The simplicity of this approach is reflected in the album’s songs, which rise and collapse with textured delicacy. The album was designed in reflection of Ottawa’s National Gallery, a stunning feat of architectural imagination where light dances through vast walls of glass. As Nick’s synth scatters orbs of glowing sound, it’s easy to understand the connections between the Gallery and the music. Glass Gallery is a sonic tour of physical space–one that transports the listener to light-filled rooms with shimmering ambiance.
Nick’s compositions aren’t necessarily groundbreaking. Synth folds over itself and sends shafts of sound across the stage–it’s nothing new. But Nick’s balance of playfulness and precision is impressive. When blurry tones drone in the background, sharper crystals of sound pierce through the noise. The mixture first seems non-objective, but as we hear these sounds explore their habitat, Nick carefully begins to nudge them. Go over there, dance like this. It’s subtle, but Nick’s guidance transforms the non-objective structures into abstract creatures, ideas, and forms.
Glass Gallery explores familiar concepts with the skill of an attentive musician. Nick’s experimentally driven practice is beautiful within its more conceptual moments, but it’s also beautiful within its simplicity. The artist seems to understand that art doesn’t have to be explosive or trailblazing. Instead, Glass Gallery enjoys its established journey through space and time, taking the listener along for the ride.