CD: James Blackshaw’s “All Is Falling”
(Young God Records, 2010):
The young British 12-string guitar wizard James Blackshaw has released quite an impressive handful of brilliant acoustic albums in the past couple of years. And he’s earned plenty of critical raves that have compared his playing to that of such acclaimed guitar innovators as John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Jack Rose and Robbie Basho.
With this album, he takes a bold leap into a different musical territory altogether. Firstly, it’s his first foray into the realm of electric 12-string guitar. Secondly, he also plays quite a bit of piano. Thirdly, he’s joined by a handful of other musicians including violinists Charlotte Glasson and Fran Bury, as well as cellist Daniel Madav.
Most importantly, while the folk and new-acoustic foundations of his previous albums are still in evidence, “All Is Falling” is much more akin to the music of such so-called minimalist composers as Terry Riley, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
The 45-minute-long disc is essentially a single composition in eight sections, evolving from the hushed, contemplative piano introduction of “Part One” to the subtly shifting, eerie electronic drone of “Part Eight.”
“All Is Falling” is trance-inducing mantra music – an uttering hypnotic song cycle that washes over you and seeps deep into your pores.
James Blackshaw will perform in concert at the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs at 7:30pm on Thursday, co-sponsored by Saratoga Arts. Also on the bill are the ambient Thrill Jockey recording artists Mountains. Tix are $10.
Blackshaw and Mountains will also be performing a free concert at 3pm today at the UAlbany Campus Center’s Fake Coffeehouse.