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Desert Triptych

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Album Review

On On the Sensations of Tone, Tom Heasley used electronics to make his tuba sound like a didjeridoo. For Desert Triptych, he went straight for the Aboriginal instrument. This album consists of three long multi-track improvisations, recorded live by Andrew Mittelman at two performances in August of 2003 and later mixed and mastered by ambient icon Robert Rich, who had also contributed to the technical aspects of On the Sensations of Tone. Using the didjeridoo, his voice, and electronics, Heasley weaves slow-moving meditative pieces. The pristine sound quality allows the listener to dive deep into these rich drones. The buzzing quality of the didjeridoo and the aerial chants blend and interact with one another, completed by effects (mostly delays). The three pieces are very much alike, forming a larger work in three movements. "29 Palms" reaches a higher level of bliss, mostly because it is more generous in wordless vocals. "Solitude," clocking in at slightly under half an hour, is highly suitable for meditation, but a bit too still for an attentive listen. Nevertheless, the album provides a very relaxing listen with excellent sound quality. Bad mixing or a lack of commitment from the artist can easily mar an album like this. This is clearly not the case here. Rich's mix is simply gorgeous and Heasley stays on track throughout the performances, Desert Triptych succeeds in conveying the image its title and cover artwork (a photograph of cacti in the desert) are aiming for. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Tom Heasley began as a tuba player in the San Francisco Bay Area avant-garde scene, performing contemporary music and supplying the odd tuba backing for various jazz and rock projects. At the turn of the millennium he started to play solo using a rack of delays and digital loops, developed an adventurous ambient sound, and turned his career around, releasing acclaimed CDs on Hypnos and Innova Recordings. On these,...
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Desert Triptych, Tom Heasley
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