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JAMES BLACKSHAW/THE GLASS BEAD GAME/ Review

www.amoeba.com / Brad Schelden

The album is nothing short of beautiful. While it manages to break my heart every time I listen to it, it also mangages to heal it every time.

www.amoeba.com

http://www.amoeba.com/blog/2009/05/pen-is-mightier-than-the-sword/out-this-w
eek-5-26-.html

James Blackshaw - The Glass Bead Game

by Brad Schelden

May 28, 2009

One of my other favorites of the week is the new James Blackshaw. This guy
has been around for a while but I have never actually gotten around to
listening to him...although it is very possible that I did listen to him
before and it just didn't hit me until now. I honestly always thought this
guy was some 60 something Irish dude playing old timey folky ballads. I
pictured him with a long white beard and maybe in a wheelchair -- not unlike
Robert Wyatt. I was amazed to find out he was actually born in 1981, and he
is from London...so I was not so far off on his location, just a bit off on
my guess of his age. He has been putting out albums since 2004. He made his
way to the label Young God for this new album called Glass Bead Game. Like
the albums of Grouper and Jose Gonzalez, this album manages to break my
heart a little every time I listen to it. At first it just seems like a
simple little album of solo guitar and piano, but it managed to get inside
me and break me all up inside. It was one of those albums that I put on not
really expecting to like, but I was intrigued because it was on Young God. I
just expected some Glenn Yarbrough style vocals over the music. I have not
had a chance to explore his old albums, but I know he has crossed some
boundaries and experimented with a couple different genres. I just like what
he is doing right now. There is also some great piano work on this album.
The Glass Bead Game is actually the last book by author Hermann Hesse, the
man who brought us Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. The album features Joolie
Wood on violin, clarinet, and flute; and also John Contreras playing the
cello, both of whom also play with Current 93. Lavinia Blackwall also
contributes some vocals, but most of album is instrumental. The album is
nothing short of beautiful. While it manages to break my heart every time I
listen to it, it also mangages to heal it every time. The album is sort of a
spiritual classical album. It really makes me feel like I am living in a
different era.

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