Artist: Jeff Pearce
Album: Bleed

Label: Hypnos

Bleed Jeff Pearce
On Bleed, Jeff Pearce offers music created from the inside out. There is an immediacy to this album. It is arresting and isolating. Rather than blurring thought or easing stress, listening to Bleed brings your surroundings and your relationship to them into sharp focus. Like a chain-link fence against a slate-gray sky or the sharp reflection of city lights after a driving rain, the clarity of Bleed asks the listener to be present and at the center of their own human drama. It would be difficult for any observer to come away from these deep contents less than impressed.

Of the 13 tracks on Bleed, two are of the spacey and smooth category while the remaining compositions are composed, melodic vignettes of plucked electric echo-guitar, complete with introduction, chord motion, bridge and resolution. The opening track, "Autumn and Regret", sets the tone well. With its brisk pace, provided by the interlocking of picked strings and digital delay, the track wanders up, down and through pleasant, melodic arpeggiations. This piece gives the album life as we fall back in time and begin to experience a probing interpretation of a troubled past.

"False Hope" is placed about mid-album and is a walking paced, well structured composition filled out by reverberant sliding guitar tones; the trails of dry electric notes underscored by a curving tide of e-bowed strings. The remaining structured tracks are slow, methodic, melodic and multi-layered - drenched in reverb and ambiguities. On "Closure in the Rain", Pearce provides us with a glimpse into his more classic space-sound with a progression of processed and filtered guitar chord loops which give way to elastically thin and fragile glissando guitar plottings. The mood of the album bottoms out with "Abandoned Playground", with its smooth waves of gray tones and backlit clouds of reverb. It is here that Pearce explores the more bleak aspects of his music with a coloristic range that gives tone to color and depth to darkness. The remaining two tracks are uplifting, bright and soft by comparison (especially the concluding track, "The Last Secret"), but in the sense of one's resolve being set after some unharmonious encounter.

To attempt an album of this scope requires more than a passing knowledge of technology and music theory. On Bleed, Pearce succeeds in transforming deep personal memories into profound musical experiences. Although Bleed is a catharsis for the artist, ample space is left for the listener's own feelings to unfold.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   24 Oct 2002

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