Evanescent’s cover art depicts waves rolling, regenerating, and reaching for an unseen shore. It’s a perfect illustration of the mutable nature of David Pritchard’s music, bolstered by the title he’s chosen for this collection of multitracked acoustic guitar compositions. Evanescent means “soon to be passing out of memory and existence.”
A former jazz guitarist, Pritchard has been mining a vein of intricately entwined guitars since his 1990 release, Air Patterns. Boasting ten trancelike yet energetic instrumentals, Evanescent is the apotheosis of Pritchard’s methods and the magical worlds they conjure.
Spun from non-traditional tunings and shifting time signatures, Pritchard crafts an environment of pirouetting rhythms and ringing harmonics. Melodic moments flit through the whirlpooling plucked and strummed acoustics, breaking free like shooting stars before dissolving back into the firmament; yet the arpeggiated nets that Pritchard casts are porous enough to let in space and light.
Throughout, repetitive patterns circle and turn subtly. On the liquid and flowing title track, entwined skeins of picking and strumming pulse and flash like an unsteady beacon. Similarly, Pritchard’s delicately picked cycles segue into ever-changing kaleidoscopic patterns on “Resin.” On “Tesserae,” a chiming and quizzical guitar figure spider-walks along a web of radiating harmonics, constantly changing course. Pointillist cross-picking transmutes into a strummed gossamer curtain on “River of Names.”
Evanescent offers constant discoveries. Its meditative grooves flicker and spiral until they start to stick in the brain, only to vanish and be replaced by newer patterns.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.