Recommended Listening: Nick Schofield - Glass Gallery
One way to survive a long winter is to celebrate any bit of sun when it shines down, providing a sliver of warmth and light. As an AmeriCorps volunteer in Chicago years back, I would often gather with the other broke hipsters from across the city at the Garfield Park Conservatory, hurrying past the "suggested donations" signs to congregate under domed glass atriums. There, we huddled amongst tropical plants to escape the chill, if only for an afternoon.
On Glass Gallery, Montreal-based composer Nick Schofield brings a similar warmth and light, but via his vintage Prophet-600 synth. His central inspiration while making this album was Ottawa's National Gallery of Canada (pictured below), and the artist sees his music sharing the same airy aesthetic as the building itself. His compositions and the gallery's space both seem to breathe life and possibility.
If it is difficult to use architecture (especially of an unfamiliar place) as a reference point, Schofield's music can also be compared to early Japanese environmental music or pastoral new age - both of which are enjoying a bit of a boom right now. The Prophet-600 textures have softly rounded edges, and though Schofield plays this single instrument unaccompanied, he leads us through a number of landscapes, or perhaps various themed rooms in a glass gallery.
And while the thirteen tracks here feel lush and green, Schofield explains that the mesmerizing sight of snowfall played a part in song construction, too. Such a wonderfully Canadian angle on a timeless genre. So as the winter wears on, wherever you may be, enjoy Glass Gallery and the warmth and light that it brings. It is out February 5th on Backward music and available for purchase here.
The Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago.
The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.