04 May 2017 (released)
04 May 2017
With summer on the tip of everyone's tongue, the desire for lighter fare is getting stronger. As is a return to celebrating the natural world rather than recoiling from its harsh winter's bite. We again thirst to commune with nature and find ourselves reflected in it. Jakob Pek's latest EP Acoustic Medicine is a stunningly beautiful meditation in five seamless movements that steep the listener in sun-soaked, speechless bliss. Born in the green paradise of British Columbia and having taken up residence in Washington State and now Northern California, Pek has been infused with the easy-going spirit of the West Coast, particularly the intangible magic that resides in the bountiful greenery of the Pacific Northwest. Using little more than his acoustic guitar, Pek is able to deliver transcendent moments of calm clarity and scintillating wonder. This is thanks to his experimental hybrid technique which marries masterful fingerstyle passages with lingering bowed guitar. As the title suggests, the EP is intended to heal the mind and soothe the soul.
The opening movement 'Surrendered to Grace' shimmers with pristine guitar flourishes. His lightly alternating bass note picking suggests the gentle sway of branches in the wind while the higher register melodies rise and fall like birds on a warm summer air pocket. For the title track, Pek introduces the bow, taking the piece into the realm of the surreal. Long droning notes empty the mind's vessel of preoccupations. He teases warbles out of the neighbouring harmonics. Deep earthy moans are cut by high ringing siren calls. The ebbing and flowing swells give a sense of time moving backward and forward, in a space beyond a fixed temporal direction. The swells then coalesce into a mighty climax fusing past, present and future. The movement takes you outside of yourself, treats you to the view from another realm and places you back in the here and now like a feather drifting back to the ground. In the final cut, 'The Great Return' returns to fingerpicking with a display of masterful grace. A flurry of sonorous embellishments that return you back to reality with a renewed vivacity.
Acoustic Medicine is the perfect album to reset the mind for summer's endless possibilities. On top of the brilliant playing, the record is mixed and mastered with a flawless sheen that allows every string to sing out with a rich brilliance. Grab some headphones, head out into the sunshine and drift away.