FOLK

Litany of Echoes James Black­shaw Tompkins Square/ Planet

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - Sean Rabin

DUR­ING the course of his ca­reer, gui­tarist James Black­shaw has proved to be a tire­less in­no­va­tor of tech­nique and com­po­si­tion. But on his sev­enth release, the 27- year- old from Bri­tain goes one step fur­ther. For the first time Black­shaw ex­changes his 12- string acous­tic gui­tar for an­other in­stru­ment. Two short, dra­matic pi­ano works in the per­cus­sive style of Philip Glass book­end Litany of Echoes and send a clear mes­sage to fans that Black­shaw’s muse will not be shack­led to one de­vice. The 40 min­utes in be­tween con­sist of Black­shaw con­firm­ing his place in the pan­theon of folk gui­tarists by build­ing sprawl­ing nar­ra­tives that are as com­plex as they are en­ter­tain­ing. The cen­tre­piece, Echo & Abyss , is an as­tound­ing work of art that will con­found ears as Black­shaw makes one gui­tar sound like three. His only ac­com­pa­ni­ment through­out the ses­sion is Fran Bury, who with vi­ola or vi­o­lin oc­ca­sion­ally pro­vides pas­toral melodies un­der­neath Black­shaw’s prob­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, to pro­duce a lulling warmth that con­veys the lis­tener even deeper in­side this in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.

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