We open on a pastel, multi-color fortress. The sea buffets its stone foundation from the west, while a forest shrouds the eastern entrance. The structure itself is entirely glass with not a blemish on any part of its façade, glowing from within to give the illusion of color on every translucent wall. From the wrong angle, the fortress may appear invisible, and with poor lighting, it becomes reflective. Such is the inexplicable and inconceivable beauty of Glass Gallery by Nick Schofield.
The album was composed on a vintage Prophet-600 synthesizer, which provides a generous canvas on which to paint. The tones are consistently rich, oscillating (literally) between the layers of each song. And there is not a melody out of place. Not that the synth would be responsible for that, though ambient work overlaps frequently with what is considered left-field. Schofield keeps it fun.
Applications for Glass Gallery are unending. “Snow Blue Square” is a perfect alarm, mimicking a gentle rousing awake through its chirps and groans. Fans of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith will recognize the organic enchantment of “Water Court” and should feel free to play it while galloping through a meadow. Royalty could be the subject of “Garden Court,” given its steady yet regal nature. And “Kissing Wall” seems self-explanatory—in a coming-of-age film, a group of 6th graders peer through a bush to catch a couple at the famed hook-up spot before they jump out and ruin their friend’s middle school romance for good.
When I first listened to this record, I had questions. How does the Prophet-600 work? Is the title a reference to composer Philip Glass? Is “Ambient Architect” a reference to himself?? Ironically, my curiosity dissipated. Glass Gallery has power in its mystery and, for once, I wanted to preserve that and let my own imagination run wild. This album has so many stories to tell—it’s up to you to discover them.