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Album Review

James Blackshaw – Litany of Echoes – Tompkins Square

sluggo   2/9/2009   A Library

James Blackshaw is a London based 12-string fingerstyle guitarist. He also plays piano on this instrumental recording. Fran Bury adds violin & viola. Blackshaw and Bury blend their respective instruments to create a sound – brooding & intense – which is greater than the sum of its parts and hypnotic in its emotional pull. Litany of Echoes is full of expressive melodies, an occasional underlying drone and creative 12-string guitar picking. Blackshaw’s music is influenced by minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Phillip Glass. Litany of Echoes is too melodic and lush to fall into that category, but at the same time it retains much of the tension and structure inherent within the style. The album is book-ended with two piano pieces, “Gate of Ivory,” and “Gate of Horn.” On Tompkins Square, 2008.

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