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FAME Review: James Blackshaw - All is Falling
James Blackshaw - All is Falling

All is Falling

James Blackshaw

Young Gods Records - YG42

Available from Young Gods Records, Summer 2010

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Mesmerizing and projectively retro-futurist, James Blackshaw's instrumental All is Falling follows on his *The Glass Bead Game* (here), both fomenting a neoclassical / traditional wont. Falling warps things further through a sound that's a hybrid of the old Takoma label after rogue serial minimalists dragged it through the elder Nonesuch label. At first magisterial and thematically repetitive, a slow evolution arises in the arch ambiance as the CD progresses. Blackshaw last time started out concentrating on guitar, this time on piano, a blend of Philip Glass' Solo Piano and a progrock chamber paean. Do not despair, though, for dominance or negligence of either, as you get plenty of both.

Part 6 kicks into denser composition techniques and contains a Glass-ian Einstein on the Beach repeating count-off followed by a section starting out Lentzian before spiraling into very involved territory, Penguin Café Orchestra-ish. Blackshaw is marking his territory as a non-ordinary writer, and Michael Nyman is going to have some serious competition if this is evidence of his earnest. Part 7 contains a very strange violin declension (or it could be a cello, probably both, as the two appear in the disc) not unlike a 747 landing…and the opposite of Robert Fripp's weird guitar take-off in Evening Star on the LP of the same name. This then turns into an echo of Wendy Carlos' Fall segment of Sonic Seasonings but much more symphonically. Paul Buckmaster and Florian Fricke, I suspect, will both be running widdershins in delight upon hearing this.

Frankly, I'm not sure where to place this, as references to all the above are apt, as well as mentions of Jack Nitzsche, Gordon Giltrap, Paul Brett, John Williams (the Brit guitarist, not the feeb Hollywood conductor-composer) and myriad other mavericks. Don't expect Blackshaw's name to pop up much, the culture's not intelligent enough for that, but do indeed reckon that his is a moniker that'll be whispered in awe in the foyers and theatre boxes among those appreciative of genuinely creative vanguards redolent of the baroque while sketching out sidestream terrain.

Track List:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Part 5
  • Part 6
  • Part 7
  • Part 8
All music written by James Blackshaw.

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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