Litany of Echoes James Blackshaw Tompkins Square/ Planet
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.