Posted by: will | December 4, 2007

Music Review – James Blackshaw


James Blackshaw “The Cloud Of Unknowing” (Tompkins Square)


It is difficult for a reviewer like myself to critique purely instrumental guitar music. Not being a musician, I can not speak to the specifics of Jame Blackshaw’s incredible talents. However, it is apparent when listening to The Cloud Of Unknowing just how unique Blackshaw’s artistry truly is. The latest work of this London-based acoustic 12-string guitarist is an amazing and engaging listen. The five songs that make up The Cloud Of Unknowing span over forty minutes which might prove daunting at first. Yet, Blackshaw carries these songs with such confidence that the music passes by effortlessly. Blackshaw’s guitar playing is accentuated by violinist Fran Bury as well as his own glockenspiel playing. These songs are so fluid and full of life and character. They possess the ability to transport the listener to another world full of vivid colors and deep imagination. Blackshaw adds elements of drone, noise and electronic music to his guitar-based songs. Those additions help to create a tremendous backbone to his minimalistic approach. Only in his mid-twenties, and already on album number four, Blackshaw has proven his musical innovation is second to none. The future is indeed bright and full of incredible possibilities for James Blackshaw. The Cloud of Unknowing is certainly a strong testament to that.

Genre: Instrumental/Folk

RIYL: Kaki King, John Fahey, Jack Rose

Running To The Ghost (mp3)

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