Jeff Pearce — To the Shores of Heaven
(Hypnos hyp2022, 2000, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2018-04-26
I would guess Robert Fripp might be ambient music's preeminent guitarist; however, while he created a few highly influential ambient albums in and out of collaborations, I'm not sure he ever created one as utterly beautiful as Jeff Pearce's To the Shores of Heaven. This was one of a good dozen or two albums from the turn of the 90s that made those the glory years of the beatless ambient / electronic genre and it was deservedly acclaimed upon release. But how to describe such a masterpiece with words? Often drifting ambient music can stay really close to single tones or overlapping clusters, but Shores manages to keep to a slowly evolving style with chord clusters that simultaneously manage to be almost heartbreakingly pretty and melancholy at the same time. Most of the album's pieces managed to sort of fit into the four to seven minute range, but one often wouldn't notice this as the whole album flows so perfectly from one segment to the next. The title of the album and the song titles hint at transition and yearning, an aching or anticipation that grows to an emotional resonance you can almost feel by the end of the album, an infusion of the sort that can often be rare in meditative or drone music. The entirety is very warm and the guitars and effects are almost indistinguishable from one another, leaving only the essence of the music itself.
Related artist(s): Jeff Pearce
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