James Blackshaw – All Is Falling
Drawing influences from classical, Indian and minimalist music amongst others, All Is Falling sees virtuosic guitar player-composer James Blackshaw delve further into the realm of hypnotic, quasi-spiritual compositions that his last eight studio releases have explored and chartered very well. Part One sets the album's mystical tone, as mesmerising piano riffs orbit over a constant bass ostinato.
This is followed by Part Two – a stoic, desert raga, fused with strings. Elsewhere, Blackshaw's use of a twanging electric guitar in place of his usual acoustic 12-string, lends the album a darker feel than previous outings. The paced fretwork of Parts Four and Five, and subdued metallic drones of Part Eight, illustrate this newfound aesthetic sublimely. Although Blackshaw is primarily a guitarist, this is not simply a 'guitar record' – it's as much indebted to the devotional jazz of Alice Coltrane as to fellow stringsmiths like Kaki King or John Fahey. Blissful listening. [Martin Skivington]