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James Blackshaw – All is Falling (Young God)

James Blackshaw All
15 August 2010

The latest chapter in an ever-expanding and fascinating book, All is Falling finds musician/composer James Blackshaw in the same mantra-minded, meditative mood as most of his work. No surprise there – Blackshaw is singularly dedicated to pursuing this vision until he’s exhausted the possibilities, and he’s a long way from doing that. The difference here is in instrumentation. He’s exchanged his acoustic 12-string for an electric, and the instrument’s trademark chime makes his circular melodies sparkle. He’s also continuing the sonic expansion begun on his prior album The Glass Bead Game, with strings, woodwinds, voices and piano all making appearances. “Part 6” even includes, briefly, drums. “Part 7” lets the bowed instruments lead the charge, while “Part 1” is a lovely piano solo. Throughout Blackshaw’s keen eye for instrumental arrangement gives a wide array of color to his minimalist compositions. It’s gorgeous stuff – no one else around right now makes such seemingly simple melodies sound so richly expressive.