St. Mary's Hamilton Village
3916 Locust Walk in Philadelphia, PA
Free Admission/Donations Accepted
Renowned Soundscape Guitarist Jeff Pearce at long last returns to The Gatherings Concert Series and the remarkable setting of St. Mary's Hamilton Village for a rare east coast performance on Saturday 7 October 2017. Ambient multi-instrumentalistEyes Cast Down is set to open.
Jeff Pearce creates smooth and beautiful sound textures using (and mis-using) electric guitars. Producing tones that rarely betray their origin notes are processed, delayed, distorted and looped to create complex harmonies and timbres. Pearce's music is compelling and moody, traversing the Space, Ambient, Experimental and New Age genres. Whether playing intimate acoustic music or crafting deep-space drifts, Jeff Pearce composes a work which combines melody and mystery in a unique way.
Often cited as being among the masters of Ambient guitar the range of tones and textures that Pearce coaxes out of his six strings and electronic circuitry is a tribute to his craft. There are few who possess the creativity, skills, and vision to visit this rarified sonic terrain.
Jeff Pearce is also an active live performer. His concerts are memorable events, mixing songs from his albums with storytelling and surprising musical improvisations.
Jeff Pearce's five prior performances at The Gatherings (which remain highlights of the series) were each followed by live in-studio on-air radio concerts for STAR'S END Ambient Radio - one of which has been released as the album The Light Beyond (2001). Pearce has also played at the ECHOES affiliated Summer Solstice Spacemusic Spectacular held in Harrisburg, PA in June of 2003 as well as at The STAR'S END 30th Anniversary Spacemusic Festival held in Philadelphia in June of 2007. More recently Pearce joined an impressive line-up of artists as part of the HEARTS OF SPACE affiliated Ambicon 2013 in California.
Jeff Pearce returns to Philadelphia and The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 7 October 2017. Ambient multi-instrumentalistEyes Cast Down will provide an opening set.
Prayer can bring to each of us a peace and a calm and a sense of unity with The Universe, but it takes art and music to fluently speak about this grace. With Evening Above (54'11") is guitarist Jeff Pearce's vivid pictorial dream music. Beautiful in its curvature and ascension one cannot listen to this album without being drawn into a higher more ethereal realm. Alive with feeling Pearce's eight miraculous constructs are more than just the simple feedback imagination displayed by other mainstream guitarists. The smooth spacey tracks on With Evening Above offer a rearrangement of reality. These are Pearce's wholly invented cosmic soundscapes, conjured through digital wizardry and manipulated in ways we cannot even imagine. The stacking of long tones and slow melodic lines yield an interesting harmonic motion, as well as resonate with new and unpredicted timbre (this even more so in the concert setting of a cavernous church sanctuary where Pearce has been known to occasionally perform his works live for an audience). The few active, structured tracks provide an immediacy - felt through the transmittable design of Pearce's personal revelations. These are composed, consonant vignettes of plucked electric echo-guitar. In the interlock of picked strings and digital delay these tracks twine up, down and through sober-steady arpeggiations. Asking for our presence these songs are slow, methodic, melodic, multi-layered and drenched in reverb. The long zone which concludes With Evening Above ventures into the realm of private understandings - things that largely go unspoken. Combining the fundamental materials of music, sonics and time, Pearce's individual sounds are diffused in a continuous conformation. Gradually changing but always with a minimum of incident his guitar-studio color and harmony float in space. Working in this manner Pearce is able to examine complex emotional themes without trivializing them. Since it moves only forward most people loath Time. Throughout Pearce's music, the unification of sustained tones, static textures, consonance and modal harmony suggests the idea of this music as an immeasurable space - one which we may temporarily dwell in, outside of the inevitable passage of time.
Album Review: Follow the River Home by Jeff Pearce
Jeff Pearce continues to exhibit a calm confidence over his abilities. Throughout the course of Follow the River Home (52'51") we will venture from the basic trembling of the air to a quickening of our consciousness. His work takes hold of us - speaking in a way in which words cannot. We feel a verging as Pearce releases imagery in seven studies on the beauty of musical timbre. In some places a stimulant, in others a tranquilizer, his audience easily follows the moral instruction of the music. The richness of tone - its intelligence, its casual precision - is felt from the first note. Generating a flux of musical expectations, Pearce raises anticipation at every turn. His use of digital processing, interspersed with clean playing, allows the vibrations emanating from his electric guitar to morph, swirl and assume a new identity. Filtered electronically this sound first begins as sympathetic resonation, in the generation of unexpected overtones. The resulting masterful formations are stirring exchanges of texture and atmosphere, resulting in distinctive moods and spirits. At many points during Follow the River Home, a coherent soloing plucks and picks through arpeggiated chords, and undergoes harmonic transitions gradually - as this shapely music activates our minds just as much as it flutters our hearts. Big chords then roll in through deep reverberation, possibly transporting the mind to a higher than normal level of integration. Three of the tracks express themselves in undulating swells of notes, generating the album's most spacey moments. There is a sonic glory here, as Pearce expresses some dark impulses... and then hope. He plays this music to light up the least grain of being in us - often finding our still point, and the deeper relations that hold this music together.
Eyes Cast Down is the ethereal music project by Greg Moorcroft. Using various guitars, synthesizers, computer programs and acoustic sources, Moorcroft produces fascinating sustained atmospheres. Measure upon measure of slowly changing, undulating chords advance and recede along a musical arc of vague dimensions. The slowly breathing tones summon interesting variations in mood and space. Yet these dark sonic clouds cannot keep the sacred from shining through. There are areas of minimal sound, which move on to a thick density of contrasting timbres and emanations in a striking drama of dynamic range. His intelligently directed soundscapes also offer restful sonic colors, luxuriant in their repose.
Eyes Cast Down debuts at The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 7 October 2017. Please find below an audio clip from Moorcroft's rehearsal sessions.
Album Review: Souls Adrift, In Disrepair by Eyes Cast Down
A soundtrack from out of the middle distance, Souls Adrift, in Disrepair (73'52") uses stillness to superb effect. Eyes Cast Down (multi-instrumentalist Greg Moorcroft) asks that you give his delicately layered performance your patience. Once we adjust our ears to the minimalist arrangements, what emerges is a slow steady tempest of sound. The five stark compositions found on Souls Adrift, in Disrepair evoke different questions from the ones we are used to. We are asked to look within, and think about what feelings and sensations we experience while listening to this album's sustaining drones, breathing chords, and dense forms - things large enough to swallow you whole. Whatever drama does arise on Souls Adrift, in Disrepair, does not come from harmonic displacement, melodic invention, nor counterpoint, but from contrasts in the sounds themselves. Stripped of almost everything, but for the subtlest shifts in atmosphere and light, this work opens up a space for one. Moorcroft relies on a myriad of electronic processing devices to transform his guitar playing into the textural masses found on this album... and a learned musicianship to direct this technology. Beautifully restrained moments, borne in improvisation, extend in slowly decaying ripples beneath gradually undulating contours. Aural details come in and out of focus, in shades of twilight and sepulchral frost. As each tone breathes into our listening space, we feel a slow force of momentum. Near album's end, a reverberant piano enters, repeating its question again and again. When shadows pull together, ethereal voices add to an enfolding darkness. The reason this album seems so quiet is because there are so few other people saying these things. The unadorned beauty of Souls Adrift, in Disrepair relates to human fragility. The dark alliance of unmodulated sounds imparts a haunting force. As ideas and emotions cross borders, the outside world remains an abstraction - possibly a parallel present to the loftier firmaments of the mind.
The Gatherings Concert Series presents Jeff Pearce plus Eyes Cast Down live in concert on Saturday 7 October 2017 at 8:00PM(doors open at 7:30pm) in the church sanctuary of St. Mary's Hamilton Village3916 Locust Walk (just east of 40th & Locust) on the Penn campus in West Philadelphia. Admission: Free! No reservation neccesary. Donations Gratefully Accepted!
CIMA of PA - The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania
Jeff Pearce plus Eyes Cast Down at The Gatherings Concert Series on 7 October 2017 is funded by CIMA of PA(The Corporation for Innovative Music and Arts of Pennsylvania), the all-volunteer, non-profit organization responsible for organizing and producing The Gatherings Concert Series. The basic mission of CIMA of PA is to bring innovative music concerts to the public and further the advancement of this form of art.
Continuing to further the cultivation of innovative music by exciting the efforts of musicians, and to gradually unfold, enlighten, and invigorate the talents of our community, in 2017 The Gatherings Concert Series marks the 25th anniversary of its first event.