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- The Watchers by James Blackshaw & Lubomyr Melnyk
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In the delightful press release to this record James Blackshaw describes how he met Lubomyr Melnyk - influential Ukrainian pianist and pioneer of the “continuous piano” technique of playing fast-flowing, sustained notes which blend into a wash of overtones which ripple and flow and resonate in a really beautiful way - when they were both playing the same festival. Having met before the show, Melnyk promised to watch Blackshaw play, and was delighted by what he saw, announcing to Blackshaw’s delight that he had “invented continuous music for guitar”.
After such an introduction, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the two of them got together to continue making music side by side, and in January 2012 at Cafe Oto in London that’s exactly what happened, with the pair improvising these recordings face-to-face on grand piano and 12-string guitar, experimenting with their melodically dense techniques using a variety of tunings and chord progressions. The result is four lengthy tracks of surprisingly intricate, resonant music with sweeping melodies which blossom and flourish with a gentle and unwavering intensity with flurries of repeated note patterns melting into a gliding, haunting melodic melange. The whole thing is completely magical, a never to be repeated display of nimble musical fluidity from two truly unique artists.
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