8 Songs, 53 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

MDiamond ,

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

As mentioned in the liner notes: “all sounds on this recording are from the electric guitar.” Its good that listeners are informed about this so as not to mistake some of the sounds for synthesizers or other instruments, and miss the distinctiveness of Jeff’s fretboard wizardry. From the opening notes, one of the first (of many) things to impress me was the exquisite tone of Jeff’s electric guitar. His slowly arpeggiated notes twinkle with crystalline chime like the stars themselves, followed by waves of echoed reflections that melt into a lush drifting soundscape. It certainly makes for a fitting and dream-like intro to the album. Unlike the title track, which had obvious guitar-like qualities, the next song is one of those I mentioned that could easily be mistaken for synthesizers. There are no individual plucked or strummed notes, like you would normally hear on a guitar, but there are instead, lavish layers of long sustained chords that create an almost orchestral ambience. Incidentally, Jeff did not use guitar-synths on the recording either – just electric guitar with a variety of electronic effects.

“A Closed Circle (Farewell)” was one of my favorites and seemed to evoke an enigmatic emotional resonance in me that was moving. But talk about ending on a high note, Jeff brings the recording to a close with an almost 22 minute magnum opus entitled “No Matter How Far.” The inconceivable vastness of the distance between stars is evoked in this epic celestial symphony as waves of ethereal ambience travel seeming light years in the course of its unfolding. Again, the fact that it was all done on guitar is almost incomprehensible.

There can be little doubt that Jeff Pearce is one of the undisputed masters of ambient guitar. The range of tones and textures that he is able to coax out of his six strings and electronic circuitry is a tribute to his uniqueness among guitarists. There are very few that I am aware of with the creativity, skills, and vision to traverse this rarified sonic terrain. While I thoroughly enjoyed his previous piano-centered album and appreciated his openness to expanding his sound and artistic profile, it is a pleasure to hear Jeff Pearce returning to his guitar roots, and keeping both feet planted firmly in the clouds.

CandiceMichelle1 ,

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

"With Evening Above" is Jeff Pearce's first ambient guitar album since 2008's "Rainshadow Sky", having released a beautiful piano album in 2012 titled "In the Season of Fading Light". Although Pearce has released a string of remarkable recordings since the mid-1990's, two of them in particular - "To the Shores of Heaven" (2000) and "Bleed" (2002) - have long stood-out as my personal favorites. "With Evening Above" is highly reminiscent of those two albums in both musical style and atmosphere, having fused the strongest elements of each while at the same time presenting a fresh and innovate sound.

"With Evening Above" is a landmark ambient/space recording composed entirely of processed and layered electric guitars that are warm, enveloping and in many parts could easily be mistaken for synthesizers. Essentially, it is electronic music that also feels organic, evoking images and sensations of being outside in open spaces under clear, starlit skies. There's also an underlying yet ever-present emotionally-stirring quality about the music that subtly tugs at the heart as it transports the mind.

The album opens with the title track, "With Evening Above", a warm, melodic piece conveyed by Pearce's signature guitar-scapes which gently cascade about and engulf the listening space. About half of the album's tracks are imbued with more melodic structure such as this one, and gently alternate with more expansive atmospheric pieces, as exemplified on the closing track "No Matter How Far", a drifting long-form piece over twenty minutes long that is sure to send the listener into dreamland. At its darkest, the music is still tender and elegant - at its brightest, still melancholy and mysterious.

One particular highlight is the track "After Dark", a deeply hypnotic and nocturnal-sounding piece that feels beautifully esoteric, making it my personal favorite. This one should definitely be listened to on headphones in order to experience its full immersion, as there is a whole lot going on beneath the surface of this track that might not be immediately evident with casual listens.

In a way, "With Evening Above" seems to have come out of nowhere, proving itself to be a stunning return to form and quite possibly Pearce's most impressive album to date. Timeless, ageless, and destined to become a classic, all eight tracks are magnificent from beginning to end, making it one of the absolute best recordings to bless my senses in a very long time. This one is a definite must-have!

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