Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Glass Bead Game

James Blackshaw: "Cross"

For several years now, James Blackshaw has been the silent purveyor of subtle gorgeous compositions written for 12 string acoustic guitar. Yet, over the course of several albums, Blackshaw has began to expand his reach, beginning to incorporate piano into his almost exclusively guitar centered affairs. This point holds true even more-so on his newest record and first for Michael Gira's Young God Records, The Glass Bead Game (May 26th.) This album finds Blackshaw incorporating vocals from Lavinia Blackwall as well as a string section and even features Blackshaw on piano. Blackshaw's compositions float in the space between modern classical music and recent progressive instrumental acts such as Sigur Ros or Mono. The melding of the two schools results in uplifting meditative music perfect for a morning drive or evening contemplation. Blackshaw has gotten a considerable amount of love from the indie and blog communities as well as from critics at large. The Glass Bead Game represents another entry into Blackshaw's excellent catalog, and his new signing to Young God Records will only help expose his music to a larger portion of the population, which is nothing but a great thing.

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