James Blackshaw & A Lily

on Sunday, 14 December 2008

Been feeling like i have a cold coming on so have spent most the weekend, wrapped up next to the radiator and trying to work out what my favourite albums of 2008 are. In the process discovering a few really lovely albums that didn't catch my attention on first listen.
First up, actual Guitar Hero, James Blackshaw, not in a Marnie Stern way, more John Fahey, Alexander Turnquist, fingers picking away like there's no tomorrow, liek Charlie Parr if he was more into Eluvium than backporch blues.

Litany Of Echoes is daunting on first impressions, three songs over the 11 minute mark but each one is done so well that the time soon flies by mixing the frantic yet calm picking with lovely pianos, epic and equally remarkable.

Wiki:James Blackshaw is a London-based guitarist and pianist, born in 1981. Blackshaw primarily plays an acoustic 12 string guitar in a similar style to Jack Rose, Steffen Basho-Junghans, and Robbie Basho. He has released material on labels such as Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, Static, Digitalis Industries, Important Records, and Tompkins Square. His music and skill has received much critical acclaim: "Blackshaw has finessed his 12-string acoustic guitar into a veritable solo symphony that's as schooled in uncommon beauty as it is in complex 20th century composition."

Stream Tracks on Last FM
James Blackshaw - Past Has Not Passed mp3
Source: No Words

Likewise the follow up to long time favourite, A Lily's 2006 elecronic gem For Lily, comes the endearingly titled three track EP I Dress My Ankles with God's Sweetest Words. The opening two tracks ae vastly different to the aforementioned release choosing folk over electronica as the main component. The boy (James Vella of Yndi Halda) though is a seeming genius at whatever he puts his mind to. And so we have two lovely fingerpicked folk numbers that flutter and switch as and when they feel free, A Town Like Hurricane particularly lovely with its Ice Cream man count in and imperfect backing singing like they only had an hour in the studio and the concept of a second or third take never entered the equation, its better for it though. Hunter and Sky see's a nod back towards his electronic side, a droney outro to close the EP.

I you haven't already tracked down For Lily its more than worth the effort.

Last FM: A Lily is James Vella (of Yndi Halda) who makes magical electronic music that matches the likes of Boards of Canada. He has just been signed onto a new record deal to release his latest record. Similar to Yndi Halda, James makes beautiful music in his side-project, but it is nothing like the post-rock sound Yndi Halda makes, it's unique from that, and the ambient soundscapes created provoke a much more calm, serene feel to the music that other similar electronic artists can bring.

A Lily mp3's
Stream A Lily Songs on Last FM

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rickdog said...

You have a great music blog here! I've added you to my mp3blog list and custom search, check it out.

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