Lost Prayers and Motionless Dances

James Blackshaw


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2008, Tompkins Square

An absolutely monumental recording, Lost Prayers and Motionless Dances re-examines many of the themes that were explored on Celeste and distills them into one brilliant 35 minute composition that is full of excitement and surprise. The piece begins with a harmonium drone and acoustic 12 string, tuned to the guitar unfriendly c-f-c-f-c-f (I can't find any examples of this tuning being used elsewhere) and unfolds beautifully. Blackshaw moves effortlessly from Takoma inspired picking into electro-acoustic improvisation and concludes with 12 string, harmonium and ride cymbal falling into a blissed out circular folk groove that is absolutely infectious.

Blackshaws guitar is pastoral at lower volumes. His 12 string is liquid and light. During live performances and at high volume his music is darker, more challenging and is almost piano like in the way his picking hand navigates patterns and clusters of notes. The dissonance that hides beneath the drone is much clearer. Between the doubled notes are overtones that surface and then decay with each strike of the thumb or scrape of the fingernails and have incredible impact. -grown-so-ugly.blogspot.com


Disc 1
1 Lost Prayers and Motionless Dances

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