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I know a little about William Blake, enough to know the late artist, poet, engraver and philosopher has enough fanatical devotees to keep him on the front line of seminal, legendary visionaries for centuries to come. If anyone makes a great majority of us look like hopeless under-achievers it's this intense madhead. Matthew Shaw is probably a devotee, he's been inspired by one of Blake's unfin ...

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The Four Zoas by Matthew Shaw
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8/10 Brian Staff review, 22 September 2011

I know a little about William Blake, enough to know the late artist, poet, engraver and philosopher has enough fanatical devotees to keep him on the front line of seminal, legendary visionaries for centuries to come. If anyone makes a great majority of us look like hopeless under-achievers it's this intense madhead. Matthew Shaw is probably a devotee, he's been inspired by one of Blake's unfinished late 18th century "prophetic" books, otherwise known as 'Vala'. Blake's was dark, dream-like and powerful writing with a real sense of the foreboding, this five track recording indeed has a suitably sinister ambient drone profile but at one point has a simultaneously innocent folk-esque beauty. It's centrepiece 'Luvah' with its birdsong, wistful acoustic guitar and balmy field recordings threatened from the wings by tormented dark ambient wails and other unnameable terrors that I dig the most. Like dense, charcoal-grey thunderclouds interrupting a beautiful summer's morning in a park! 'Urthona' startles with the wailing of trapped souls in limbo and the finale is a deep, heady rush of druid-like drone. Good creepy vibe throughout with some beautifully layered production!


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