James Maloney – ‘Gaslight’

Fluttering pianos fades in and out in the opening of ‘Gaslight’, complimented by crisp rustling and clicking of untouched instrumental nuance. One can only imagine the musical representation of waves, tide, and the material elements brought ashore. Maloney presents a collection of works initially more upbeat and light-hearted than the sounds typically associated under the modern classical term. A clever use of field sounds, subtle rhythmic foundations, brass, and far panning piano rolls make the albums second track, ‘Blink’, stand out. An abrupt pause at the track’s centre creates an unexpected and clever moment of sensory deprivation, indicative of the title, before returning with a delightful upbeat fullness. Without avoiding cliché, I’m going to quote the Impressionist great, Claude Debussy, in that “music is in the space between the notes”. As with the opening track, such musical pauses create anticipation that remains true to the subject of the music. The album does have less busy moments, in the titled track and also ‘Lament’, which bring peace and reflection with open honesty. ‘Gaslight’ contains beautiful moments of tranquillity: ‘Afterglow’ gradually expands from minimal, haunting single notes and a brooding lower register, only to reach a washed out, positive climax.

Released on July 7th, James Maloney’s ‘Gaslight’ appears on Quebec’s Moderna Records, sitting comfortably alongside numerous gifted artists pushing for uniqueness and creativity within the modern-classical genre.