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James Blackshaw:the Glass Bead Game


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By: Dennis Cook

Meditative but never somnambulant, James Blackshaw's latest merges the the comforting acoustic layering of early, excellent Windham Hill albums with the more highfalutin' fingerpicked guitar machinations of Sandy Bull and Robbie Basho. The Glass Bead Game (released May 26 on Young God Records) builds from the tintinnabulous base of Blackshaw's exquisite 12-string guitar, adding empathetic strings, wordless vocals, splashes of piano and other subtle touches. He's joined by Current 93 members John Contreras (cello) and Joolie Wood (violin, clarinet, flute) and classically trained vocalist Lavinia Blackwall (Directing Hand), and the ensemble generates a highly visual landscape perfectly suited to mornings or far away journeys, the spaces where less noise crowds in and we're able to open up to something this achingly sumptuous.

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