Jeff Pearce is an artist best-known for his ambient electric guitar recordings, starting in 1993. He later learned the Chapman stick and incorporated that unusual instrument into his music. Several years ago, Jeff started taking piano lessons from the legendary Philip Aaberg, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Pearce’s tenth album, In the Season of Fading Light
, is mostly solo piano with occasional ambient accompaniment (also performed by Pearce). What is a little surprising is the enormous depth of emotion coming from a pianist who hasn’t been playing the piano all of his life. These very spare, perfectly-formed compositions and improvisations are masterpieces of musical expression and beauty. But wait, there’s more! Not only is Jeff Pearce a masterful musician and composer, but he is also an extremely caring and generous human being. The music on In the Season of Fading Light
comes from Pearce’s “Provision” series where he composed a new song each month from July 2011 to June 2012 and donated 30 cents from the sale of each song to a specific charity. Continuing in that vein, $1 from the sale of each album will go directly to Feeding America (www.feedingamercia.org
). The leisurely pace of the music is soothing and relaxing, but there is plenty of complexity in the music to keep any audiophile coming back for more. This album will definitely be on my list of Favorites for 2012!
The album opens with the title track, a haunting piece for piano and electronics where the ethereal quality of the background washes softens the darker and more percussive piano chords - a gorgeous effect! “Autumn and Regret II” is a more melodic piano solo with a gently moving rhythm. “A Secret for the Moon” mixes electronics with the piano (reverb, background washes), creating a mood that is mysterious yet personal and pensive. The notes are very spare, yet convey so much. “After the Frost” is a very quiet, atmospheric piece for piano and ambient accompaniment that is open, sparse, and very chilly! “Newfallen” is a favorite. This song “arrived” with the first snowfall last year and conveys peace and a gentle beauty. I love the dark drama of the haunting “chorus.” “Into Spring” conveys feelings of hope and optimism as winter fades. Not really lighthearted or joyful, it seems to be looking forward to the season of rebirth and growth. “Words From the Rain” is another favorite. The rain sounds in the background were recorded with a portable recorder while Pearce played the piano inside; soothing, refreshing, and oh so peaceful.
In the Season of Fading Light
is an exceptional listening experience from start to finish. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!