James Blackshaw - All Is Falling
James Blackshaw is a pretty nifty 12-string guitarist, his previous album The Glass Bead Game opening with a warm, intricate and almost Spring-like acoustic workout. It's interesting here then that 'Part 1' of his new album All Is Falling shows the man tinkling the ivories, showing him an equally proficient piano player and demonstrating a more mournful and thoughtful approach to his music.
In the past few years or so Blackshaw has collaborated with renowned odd-ball and Current 93 leader David Tibet, and while the man hasn't driven to create some doom-spouting folk, it has reintroduced him to the electric guitar. 'Part 2' is the first of the tracks to feature this, and you can hear the warmth of his playing contrasting with the wintery strings played by Charlotte Glasson and Fran Bury. While there may not be many instruments at work, there is definitely something heart-wrenchingly cinematic about the music.
'Part 4' sees glockenspiel added to the mix, and almost childlike abandon floods through his guitar playing as a result. His guitar playing feels as though he is truly a master of his art, and someone in love with it too. When his and Fran's voices count along in 'Part 6', there is a soothing and innocent feeling to it which takes over you. While with some musicians emotion is sacrificed in lieu of virtuoso playing, here James Blackshaw shows that it can be shown in a tasteful and infinitely enjoyable fashion.