Clay Harper — ‘bleak beauty’
Clay Harper is on record as saying, “bleak beauty is basically the soundtrack of a very difficult time for me as I attempt to process and make sense of the illness and death of my partner. Sometimes life comes down to just sadness and coping. That’s now, and that’s this.” In its way, the album is a trustworthy guide to a series of scenes and emotions of the highest nuance surrounding the theme of love and loss. Given the subject at hand, what is surprising is how soothing it is. The direct addressing of important circumstances through such instinctively gorgeous musical states of mind is, believe it or not, quite comforting.
The words and music are bare, yet evocative. There’s not an unnecessary moment on any of the nine poetic tracks. After listening, you will never think of bleak beauty as contradictory in any way. bleak beauty is evidence that despair, fully felt, can be instructive. As in the purest moments of life, Clay Harper’s music proves that spare does not mean incomplete. Far from it.