James Blackshaw, 'All Is Falling' (Young God)

Critical Mass
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by christopherschultz

For his ninth LP of pastoral plucking, British guitarist James Blackshaw graduates from gifted fingerpicker to masterful composer, combining John Fahey's tender arpeggios and Terry Riley's cycling rhythms. Presented as a 45-minute suite, All Is Falling sweeps his electric 12-string into a tangle of keening cellos, dive-bombing violins, pinprick glockenspiels, and clacking percussion. It's essentially a chattering crescendo of melody and tension, with piano-based snowdrifts giving way to Morricone epics that ultimately unfold into a harrowing, nail-biting sonic swarm.

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