Review : The Glass Bead Game by James Blackshaw

James Blackshaw is a London based guitarist who creates 12 string guitar and piano based instrumental soundscapes. I’d been meaning to check out his work for a while, but only got round to downloading this album yesterday (another case of needing to burn a few emusic credits quickly). Each of the five tracks is different, but they gel together quite nicely to make something that manages to be both melodic and experimental at the same time. He’s been mentioned in the same breath as a lot of guitar greats, but I’d actually throw Jim O’Rourke or one of the other Chicago scene improvisers into the mix, as this music makes me feel the same way Bad Timing did when I first heard it. This music does not need vocals, or lyrics, or drums. It just needs to be listened to with an open mind. I think I’ll certainly be checking out his extensive back catalogue over the next few weeks.