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BLACKSHAW, JAMES - Litany of Echoes

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Tompkins Square TSQ1783
Release Year: 2008
Note: digipack
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00

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"Initially inspired by the guitarists of the '60s Takoma label to teach himself fingerpicking, London-based musician James Blackshaw writes pieces primarily for solo 12-string guitar that share more in common with the minimalist works of composers such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Charlemagne Palestine, as well as French composers Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, than the blues/raga influence of his peers. Using drones, overtones and repeating patterns alongside a strong inclination for melody, Blackshaw creates instrumental music that is both intelligent, hypnotic and unashamedly sentimental. Litany of Echoes, Blackshaw's sixth studio album in five years, shows a more mature, focused and, on the whole, accessible approach to composition. While the album often feels darker and more introspective in nature than on previous releases, many of the songs have a huge-sounding, classical quality to them. With Blackshaw adding some glistening piano work for the first time and Fran Bury returning to play swarms of sweeping string parts for violin and viola, Litany of Echoes is a truly original, affecting and timeless album from a guitarist/composer coming into his own." [press release]

"With each new James Blackshaw release, we're always amazed at how someone who works within such a small musical framework can continuously exceed our expectations. Definitely a favorite among favorites of solo guitarists, Blackshaw has bulked up his arsenal of compositional approaches by introducing for the first time the use of piano as a key element. Bookending the album are two long form pieces of solo piano in a minimalist style that remind us of Charlemagne Palestine or Lubomyr Melnyk. When the twelve string is first heard on the second track, it's not before we're set up with a foundation of resonant timbres of violin and viola (played by Fran Bury) that give
weight to the airy modal improvisations of the guitar. Adding subtle layers of richness and dynamics, the strings ground and support the ringing overtones of the 12 string creating complex harmonies to the pulsating melodies. We can't imagine we'll ever tire of hearing Blackshaw's shimmering textural pieces. Amazing how sound so deep, dark, damp and resonant can be so transcendentally uplifting." [Aquarius Records review]