James Blackshaw - Litany of Echoes

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Could not find any discussion on this guy. I've enjoyed his previous releases, but this is wonderful.

Professor Respect, Saturday, 21 June 2008 03:37 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah? It got a good Pitchfork review, and I grabbed it on eMusic. Haven't listened yet. I hear he's expanded his horizons (e.g., piano) on some tracks.

Daniel, Esq., Saturday, 21 June 2008 03:53 (eleven years ago) link

He's no Jack Rose

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Saturday, 21 June 2008 04:32 (eleven years ago) link

This guy is really, really, really good.

stephen, Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:22 (eleven years ago) link

Still need to check out the new one though.

stephen, Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:22 (eleven years ago) link

I like how James Blackshaw has kinda carved his own little niche, without kowtowing to the Fahey pedestal.

He's got some mad chops - flamenco-like. Anyhow, I can get quite lost in his stuff, whereas a lot of these nu acoustic pickers leave me a little high and dry.

Brooker Buckingham, Sunday, 22 June 2008 02:48 (eleven years ago) link

Anyhow, I can get quite lost in his stuff, whereas a lot of these nu acoustic pickers leave me a little high and dry.

OTM, there's a reason I listen to Blackshaw's albums way more than Jack Rose or Stefan Basho-Junghans' albums

Malcolm Money, Sunday, 22 June 2008 03:10 (eleven years ago) link

Got all his stuff, guy is really really good.

Herman G. Neuname, Sunday, 22 June 2008 14:44 (eleven years ago) link

He's a little new age, no? (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

QuantumNoise, Sunday, 22 June 2008 14:52 (eleven years ago) link

Not to my ears he's not. He is a bit different to the american guitarists in the same genre I think.

Herman G. Neuname, Sunday, 22 June 2008 14:57 (eleven years ago) link

http://www.myspace.com/jamesblackshaw

Herman G. Neuname, Sunday, 22 June 2008 15:04 (eleven years ago) link

this new one is his best, i think, even better than Cloud of Unknowing. More ambitious arrangements, a little more varied without losing focus. i don't really give a shit about technical ability, but uhhh, he is pretty stunning in that area isn't he?

tylerw, Sunday, 22 June 2008 18:29 (eleven years ago) link

OTM, there's a reason I listen to Blackshaw's albums way more than Jack Rose or Stefan Basho-Junghans' albums

Ha ha ha this is madness. You have Pitchfork-itis.

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Sunday, 22 June 2008 21:34 (eleven years ago) link

i dunno, i really wouldn't even compare Rose and Blackshaw -- at least the stuff I've heard from the two of them. Rose seems way more Americana, folk/blues influenced, whereas Blackshaw has more eastern-y sounds mixed with a definite minimalist vibe. There might be some crossover, but it seems to me they're not really doing the same thing.

tylerw, Sunday, 22 June 2008 23:00 (eleven years ago) link

I appreciate him for finding his own space but I don't think he's put anything really decent together yet. It's too woolly, needs to harden and slim down.

ogmor, Sunday, 22 June 2008 23:36 (eleven years ago) link

nine months pass...

hey, the new one's pretty good. A couple of absolutely breathtaking tracks on it, had heard them a couple of times live in the last few months, but really given wings here. Have to say though, I'm not a big fan on the piano stuff, sounds a bit too stuck in the drawing room for me, a little bit on the polite side, maybe a bit Rachels-y.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Monday, 20 April 2009 08:55 (ten years ago) link

That makes me excited to hear this, especially since I don't consider "Rachels-y" to be a bad thing. I was a latecomer to Litany of Echoes, but it is beautiful.

suggest banh mi (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 20 April 2009 12:42 (ten years ago) link

its great

pfunkboy (Herman G. Neuname), Monday, 20 April 2009 12:55 (ten years ago) link

Dunno how he got on there, but there was a piece on Blackshaw on the Today programme on Radio 4 yesterday morning:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8020000/8020106.stm

Enemy Insects (NickB), Tuesday, 28 April 2009 09:13 (ten years ago) link

the new one, the glass bead game, is really, really lovely

k3vin k., Thursday, 7 May 2009 19:25 (ten years ago) link

yup it really is. i like how blackshaw didn't just stop at being a decent takoma wannabe but has just kept expanding his sound, the vocal bits on the new one for example are grand.

sonderangerbot, Thursday, 7 May 2009 19:29 (ten years ago) link

whoa what? i dont think there are vocals on what i've got...

k3vin k., Thursday, 7 May 2009 19:33 (ten years ago) link

O_______O this dude is 28 years old O______O

k3vin k., Thursday, 7 May 2009 19:41 (ten years ago) link

;_; this isnt out until may 26

k3vin k., Thursday, 7 May 2009 19:59 (ten years ago) link

has he read/referenced Hesse's novel of the same name? or did I completely miss him openly talking about it in interviews

Malcolm Money, Friday, 8 May 2009 01:32 (ten years ago) link

the guy's sick.

check out WALKING INTO SLEEP CD.

doom23, Friday, 8 May 2009 02:32 (ten years ago) link

listening to this for the fourth fucking time today, and "cross" is just about my favorite song in the world right now. the mood it creates--this complacent, drunken longing--just about formfits how i feel right now. i really needed this

k3vin k., Friday, 8 May 2009 03:02 (ten years ago) link

also thank you whiney g for pointing me toward this via twitter<3

k3vin k., Friday, 8 May 2009 03:03 (ten years ago) link

Cross is the first track isn't it? The one with the Steve Reich-esque singing on it? Yeah, that's gorgeous for sure. First time I heard that live and that main theme kicked in, I was so on the verge of losing my shit and blubbing like a baby. Stuff like that totally melts me.

Was wondering how big an influence Black Sabbath might have been on him. Would not be surprised at all if it was the folky interludes on the Sabbath albums that initially set him off on the path he's travelling.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 8 May 2009 08:22 (ten years ago) link

Oh, here's Cross as a solo. SO AWESOME.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 8 May 2009 08:24 (ten years ago) link

Fuck that's a great video. Hypnotizing.

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Friday, 8 May 2009 12:05 (ten years ago) link

What's amazing to me is how effortless he makes it look.

I love the spider-y movements as he's sliding back-and-forth across the fretboard.

Daniel, Esq., Friday, 8 May 2009 12:21 (ten years ago) link

bloody hell where did theo come from? Got bored over at DFFD?

pfunkboy (Herman G. Neuname), Friday, 8 May 2009 12:31 (ten years ago) link

I love the spider-y movements as he's sliding back-and-forth across the fretboard

Yeah he makes it look deceptively easy but it's all about that crazy right hand really isn't it? Did you check out the size of the man's fingernails? Jeebs!

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 8 May 2009 12:41 (ten years ago) link

Yeah. It's what he's doing with the right-hand thumb that seems mind-boggling to me. I think the other fingers are following a (complicated, hard-to-play) pattern, but the thumb looks like it's doing even more -- and more difficult -- work, since it keeps returning to a "homebase" position that starts on different strings. It must take incredible concentration, touch and intuition to get that pattern right.

Daniel, Esq., Friday, 8 May 2009 12:53 (ten years ago) link

^^^ lots of scarey right hand close-ups on that. Is it just two fingers and a thumb he plays with?

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 8 May 2009 13:04 (ten years ago) link

Anyhow, as much as I'm amazed by his chops, I'm totally going misty-eyed at the expressiveness of his music.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 8 May 2009 13:07 (ten years ago) link

Some of the comments under that video are hilarious, even by YouTube standards. Great guitarist, saw him last year in Bristol (UK) and he was staggering.

Wax Cat, Friday, 8 May 2009 13:50 (ten years ago) link

Cross is the first track isn't it? The one with the Steve Reich-esque singing on it?

alright e, what the hell. the mp3s i have do not have vocals!! although i really dont think i want "cross" to have any vocals, there's no way it could add anything for me. could you message me the mp3 you've got?

k3vin k., Friday, 8 May 2009 17:02 (ten years ago) link

So fucking good:

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Friday, 8 May 2009 17:46 (ten years ago) link

The Glass Bead Game is probably the best I've heard from him. This is a serious contender for album of the year, for me at least. Really, the technical stuff on here (while amazing) doesn't even register for me. Its all about this deep sense of peace that the music emits. So fucking good.

jonathan - stl, Friday, 8 May 2009 18:36 (ten years ago) link

he must love that shirt a lot, like a lot.

doom23, Friday, 8 May 2009 19:02 (ten years ago) link

Hahaha I was thinking the same thing!

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Friday, 8 May 2009 19:27 (ten years ago) link

The Glass Bead Game is probably the best I've heard from him. This is a serious contender for album of the year, for me at least. Really, the technical stuff on here (while amazing) doesn't even register for me. Its all about this deep sense of peace that the music emits. So fucking good.

― jonathan - stl, Friday, May 8, 2009 2:36 PM (1 hour ago)

yeah i've had this for about a day and a half and it's probably my second favorite record this year, after six+ plays (lol). i think we're having pretty different visceral reactions to it, but i can see where your sense of "peace" and the overwhelming despair i draw from this may overlap

k3vin k., Friday, 8 May 2009 19:46 (ten years ago) link

"fix", for example, is like five and a half minutes of how charlie brown feels when he realizes lucy's never going to let him kick that football

k3vin k., Friday, 8 May 2009 19:48 (ten years ago) link

Sometimes it is pretty much like staring into the fire and seeing your own personal stuff in the embers.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Friday, 8 May 2009 20:05 (ten years ago) link

^yeah that's a great way of putting it!

k3vin k., Friday, 8 May 2009 21:44 (ten years ago) link

This is the other song off the new one that's really killing me at the moment - 'Key'.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Tuesday, 12 May 2009 09:47 (ten years ago) link

Did that even work?

Shirt looks familiar BTW, shirt fans.

Enemy Insects (NickB), Tuesday, 12 May 2009 09:51 (ten years ago) link

Thanks so much to J0rdan for telling me about this stuff, it's so beautiful and cinematic

Banvil! The Story of Banvil (Tape Store), Tuesday, 12 May 2009 14:05 (ten years ago) link

nice! didn't like litany of echoes quite as much as the previous couple records, but it was still fab.

tylerw, Friday, 11 June 2010 16:59 (nine years ago) link

three months pass...

I think "Part 1" and "Part 8" (the piano and synth pieces, respectively) on "All is Falling" are among his best work. "O True Believers" and then "The Cloud of Unknowing" are my two favorite of his albums, but his new release is great as well.

jeevves, Saturday, 25 September 2010 20:27 (eight years ago) link

Yeah, it's a very great album. Definitely another testament to Gira's ear for who to sign to the label.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 25 September 2010 21:22 (eight years ago) link

Yep, Gira reminds me a bit of Joe Boyd... he has both very good taste and fits things into a very particular vision of music.

jeevves, Sunday, 26 September 2010 01:09 (eight years ago) link

gah totally forgot this came out! need to order.

tylerw, Sunday, 26 September 2010 01:15 (eight years ago) link

on emusic fwiw

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 26 September 2010 01:19 (eight years ago) link

Need to get this. My favorite is O True Believers, but really, all of his stuff falls along the kinda-great-to-absolutely-stunning axis.

ilxor has truly been got at and become an ILXor (ilxor), Sunday, 26 September 2010 18:01 (eight years ago) link

six months pass...

love blackshaw. anyone ever hear of Don Ross? I've been listening to him for quite some time...he is fantastic as well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZx_ckGDa64

Get me two meatball sandwiches Utah! TWO! (thebingo), Monday, 28 March 2011 15:05 (eight years ago) link

nope- will have to check out Ross now.

i finally ordered All Is Falling the other week, due to arrive soon. love Blackshaw, dude hasn't released a poor album yet

ilxor you've listened to one odd future album once (ilxor), Monday, 28 March 2011 15:17 (eight years ago) link

ross is a different style with all the hammer ons and what not, but that song above there...is just awesome.

Get me two meatball sandwiches Utah! TWO! (thebingo), Monday, 28 March 2011 15:21 (eight years ago) link

Huron Street is my go to for him.

Get me two meatball sandwiches Utah! TWO! (thebingo), Monday, 28 March 2011 15:22 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

"fix", for example, is like five and a half minutes of how charlie brown feels when he realizes lucy's never going to let him kick that football

― k3vin k., Friday, May 8, 2009 3:48 PM (2 years ago)

was just about to post this thought again lol

bite this display name (k3vin k.), Thursday, 16 June 2011 05:37 (eight years ago) link

this song is perfect for when you feel like 'fuk the world' and you don't want to feel any better - ultimate song for wallowing in your own misery

bite this display name (k3vin k.), Thursday, 16 June 2011 05:40 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

Blackshaw fans oughta like this record a good deal (there are similarities in sound, not to mention the two are friends, and have toured together) - not sure where else to post this, as he's not been discussed before on ILM, by the looks of it - but either way, excellent album.

i genuinely thought when i first joined that he was the admin (ilxor), Tuesday, 16 August 2011 05:02 (eight years ago) link

yeah i've been meaning to get that one, thanks for the reminder. i've liked what i've heard of nugent in the past.

tylerw, Tuesday, 16 August 2011 18:11 (eight years ago) link

another one tangentially related to Blackshaw, without his own thread, sadly... really really good album.

i genuinely thought when i first joined that he was the admin (ilxor), Monday, 22 August 2011 06:08 (seven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

new one: http://www.tinymixtapes.com/chocolate-grinder/listen-james-blackshaw-boo-forever

tylerw, Friday, 9 September 2011 19:45 (seven years ago) link

four months pass...

haha, another new one. interesting that he's switched over to nylon string guitar now.

James Blackshaw

‘Love Is The Plan, The Plan Is Death’

New Album available on CD/LP, Important Records, April 2012

Written at a time of great emotional disquiet, the hauntingly beautiful and bittersweet ninth full-length studio album, ‘Love Is The Plan, The Plan Is Death’, from British guitarist-composer James Blackshaw was recorded at Soma Electronic Music Studios, Chicago in December 2011 by engineer Andrew Hernandez (Balmorhea). The six original pieces contained on the album (whose titles are lovingly misappropriated from those of short stories by the late, great science fiction author James Tiptree Jr AKA Alice B. Sheldon,) are based alternately around nylon-string classical guitar and grand piano, with spare and subtle vibraphone and B3 organ parts overdubbed by Blackshaw himself. Geneviève Beaulieu (Menace Ruine/Preterite) adds her stunning and powerful voice and words to track ‘And I Have Come Upon This Place By Lost Ways’. ‘Love Is The Plan’ is an incredibly warm and intimate recording and perhaps Blackshaw’s most concise, consistent and overtly melodic work to date.

tylerw, Monday, 9 January 2012 17:32 (seven years ago) link

that description sounds great. rereading this thread, I appear to not own several of his best albums. I have Litany, All is Falling, and Glass Bead. The last is my favorite--should I check out any earlier ones?

rob, Monday, 9 January 2012 17:44 (seven years ago) link

cloud of unknowing is great, as is celeste. there might be a law of diminishing returns w/ some of the earlier stuff -- it sort of mines the same vibe. but if you like Litany, All is Falling, and Glass Bead, you'd definitely do well to explore the other ones.

tylerw, Monday, 9 January 2012 17:46 (seven years ago) link

I love the idea of him on classical guitar.

Youncle Buck (Spottie_Ottie_Dope), Monday, 9 January 2012 17:49 (seven years ago) link

yeah i *think* he's playing that on a song from that boo forever EP from last year
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AASuAIU691s&feature=related
little bit hard to tell because he's being doubled by something -- which makes it sound kinda like a 12 string!

tylerw, Monday, 9 January 2012 17:51 (seven years ago) link

that sounds great. Funny cos just a couple nights ago I listened to this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhxlYkjpj6k
and thought to myself that James Blackshaw should do an album with nylon strings. That intro and then drop into the main repeating riff is one of my favorite understated music moments.

Youncle Buck (Spottie_Ottie_Dope), Monday, 9 January 2012 18:00 (seven years ago) link

Ah, that Sun Kil Moon record was the first thing I thought of after reading this.

Rapper rejoins fat man's co-op (NickB), Monday, 9 January 2012 18:02 (seven years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Stoked about this!

http://jamesblackshaw.tumblr.com/post/16837292015/collaboration-with-lubomyr-melnyk

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I recently worked on some recordings with composer/pianist, Lubomyr Melnyk, whose music I have been a fan of for a long time and is a big source of inspiration to my own playing. This is something that we’ve been talking about for around three years now and was recently made possible with the kind help of the folks at Cafe Oto. Watch this space for more news regarding the recordings soon.

Super Receptor (Barnaby, Hardly), Friday, 3 February 2012 09:06 (seven years ago) link

five months pass...

review of the new one in dusted today strikes me as kind of clueless:
British composer James Blackshaw’s early albums on 12-string guitar always felt more like love letters to guitarists like John Fahey, Sandy Bull, Robbie Basho and Sir Richard Bishop than applications for admittance to the “American Primitive” canon. He is British, after all, but more importantly, Sunshrine and O True Believers covered well-trodden trails instead of blazing their own. An argument could be made that the aforementioned innovators left little room for improvement, but Ben Chasny has done pretty well mutating it into a dark psychedelia. Anyway, Blackshaw is nonetheless a very gifted musician and, since 2008, he has gradually moved away from aping Fahey and towards a form of restrained modern composition. As such, Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death, the latest installment in this intriguing new direction, seems far-removed from the primitivism of The Cloud of Unknowing.

has this dude ever listened to john fahey? blackshaw really doesn't sound much like him. Basho, sure, but Blackshaw's stuff sounds far removed from Fahey, Bull, Bishop etc.

tylerw, Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:32 (seven years ago) link

Yeah, unlike Fahey, there's very little blues in his playing and much more of a medievalist thing going on. They do both have a certain plaintiveness to their music though.

mod night at the oasis (NickB), Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:43 (seven years ago) link

there's very little blues in his playing

I could be wrong though, cos I only know a few of his records.

mod night at the oasis (NickB), Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:44 (seven years ago) link

for the most part there's zero blues in there, which makes "aping" fahey impossible. oh well! new one is very nice.

tylerw, Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:46 (seven years ago) link

three years pass...

He should get tea with Robert Fripp and figure something out.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 11 April 2016 19:23 (three years ago) link

a bunch of us are doing this

my friends are i guess you can say pitchfork darlings and they're looking into this

F♯ A♯ (∞), Monday, 11 April 2016 19:39 (three years ago) link

that's too bad, but i hope he gets in a better place -- his twitter account occasionally seems very tortured.
and yeah, i mean, i find it hard to amazing that anyone making any kind of even slightly left of mainstream music can make a decent living at it.

tylerw, Monday, 11 April 2016 19:40 (three years ago) link

bummer. all is falling is a classic to me.

it ain't easy out there i'd imagine.

rockpalast '82 (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 11 April 2016 21:08 (three years ago) link

yeah, with people like him i get a skewed idea of their popularity, since we talk about them all the time on the ilx brigade thread. but then i go to a show and there's like a dozen people showing up. they'd probably make more cash staying home and teaching Black Keys songs to 11 year olds or something.

tylerw, Monday, 11 April 2016 21:17 (three years ago) link

that's too bad, but i hope he gets in a better place -- his twitter account occasionally seems very tortured.

True. Now he seems to have deleted his account. Must be very recent.

Bummer indeed.

moans and feedback (Dinsdale), Monday, 11 April 2016 21:42 (three years ago) link

then i go to a show and there's like a dozen people showing up

that was quite possibly the precise attendance last time I saw Blackshaw play, maybe in 2014. my city of residence is infamously useless at actually turning out for anything good, that said

not to downplay a situation which is presumably a real wrench for him but I assumed he already had a dayjob tbh

reader, if you love him so much why don't you marry him? (DJ Mencap), Monday, 11 April 2016 22:03 (three years ago) link

The negative spiral he was getting into on twitter has been glum reading, glad he's taking some time away.

real orgone kid (NickB), Monday, 11 April 2016 22:25 (three years ago) link

I interviewed him back in the day and he was a lovely fella. Sad to see how wrong things have gone. He'll be back, hopefully.

Poacher (Chinaski), Tuesday, 12 April 2016 20:02 (three years ago) link

Have things gone so "wrong"? Or is he simply just looking to shift his priorities towards happiness (which doesn't even exclude making new music!)? TBF I haven't seen these twitter posts.

Evan, Tuesday, 12 April 2016 20:05 (three years ago) link

The tweets that stick in my mind were quite bitter-sounding abuse directed at the Wire magazine account

real orgone kid (NickB), Tuesday, 12 April 2016 20:09 (three years ago) link

nine months pass...

Your help needed!

Dear all,

As I mentioned before, some of my older albums are currently unavailable to stream/download digitally. These will soon be available again and in some cases reissued on vinyl via a new label.

The albums are:

Celeste, Lost Prayers & Motionless Dances, Sunshrine, The Cloud of Unknowing and Litany Of Echoes

However, unfortuntely some of the original artwork is missing.

If you have any of these albums on CD or LP in good condition and can scan the covers at a minimum of 1400 x 1400 at 300 DPI, I would be immensely grateful if you could send the artwork files to me at shoryob✧✧✧@hotm✧✧✧.c✧✧

Many thanks and best wishes,

James

Dinsdale, Saturday, 21 January 2017 09:09 (two years ago) link

original post with the actual e-mail address: http://jamesblackshaw.tumblr.com/post/156101738083/your-help-needed

Dinsdale, Saturday, 21 January 2017 09:10 (two years ago) link

It's ugly to contemplate, but he's not well, is he?

Sunn O))) Brother Where Art Thou? (Chinaski), Saturday, 21 January 2017 11:33 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

He posted this on Tumblr a couple weeks ago:


End of hiatus

It’s been a while. After three years of not performing live and nearly five years since my last solo album, I feel a new energy and desire to record again and return to the stage. I never meant to be particularly dramatic about announcing my hiatus from music. I never knew if I’d feel this way again, but I’m genuinely happy I do.

I hope to have some news regarding new recordings shortly.

In the meantime, if you’d like to book me to play a show, in any town or city in any country, please contact me directly at: shoryobuni AT hotmail DOT com

I’m also selling some guitars to help and finance the new album. And pay bills. You know how it goes.

Much love and hope to see you soon,

James

https://jamesblackshaw.tumblr.com/post/186607395763/end-of-hiatus#notes

Dinsdale, Monday, 12 August 2019 17:41 (six days ago) link

ok, this is great news

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 12 August 2019 17:44 (six days ago) link

nice, that is good to hear ...

tylerw, Monday, 12 August 2019 17:49 (six days ago) link

So glad to hear he's okay, new music is just a bonus really

Br. Des Shadows (NickB), Monday, 12 August 2019 20:39 (six days ago) link

Wasn't he run down by the lack of money/record sales? I'm glad to have him back, his music is beautiful.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 12 August 2019 20:46 (six days ago) link

yeah, good news all round

Thus Spoke Darraghustra (Oor Neechy), Monday, 12 August 2019 20:48 (six days ago) link


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