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The Glass Bead Game by James Blackshaw
1 review. Write a review for us »
10/10 Brett 21 May 2009
So James Blackshaw's got album of the week, what a bloody surprise eh? Everyone in here totally fancies him except me, I've only heard one album and other little bits and pieces so I've not really had the chance to develop my love, but I must say it's grown exponentially with the release of 'The Glass Bead Game' on the always excellent Young God. Phil's always banging on about how they don't release much but when they do it's almost always great and that applies even more so when they pull their fingers far enough out to get a vinyl edition on the go. They're obviously chuffed to have him and it's no surprise when you hear how accomplished this album is, beginning with a bit of Penguin Cafe Orchestra style chamber modernism where his guitar merely plays one role of many, moving on to the second tune in which his twelve string is pushed right to the fore (the phrase 'vintage Blackshaw' is kicking around to describe its Fahey-goes-raga brilliance), right the way through to the far more piano orientated pieces which evoke people like Max Richter, Philip Glass, maybe even Erik Satie. Spiritual minimalism maybe? It certainly feels good for the soul, whatever you call it. All I can say to sign off is it's absolutely wondrous stuff and Phil (who's far more au fait with his back catalogue than I am) has declared this to be his best album ever. Given the respect he's had up to this point that sounds like some recommendation!


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