The Glass Bead Game – James Blackshaw

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I sometimes sit around and think to myself “gee, I’d really like to master something”. Usually this comes after one of my many attempts at greatness that fall very short. Listening to The Glass Bead Game by Englishman James Blackshaw, I realize that I am such a long way off from even knowing what it is that I want to master, that I might as well just give it up now, and leave the mastering to masters like Mr. Blackshaw.

On The Glass Bead Game, it’s obvious that the fingers of James Blackshaw are quite comfortable around the twelve strings of his guitar, as he spends most of the album effortlessly showcasing his skill on the instrument – something he has done for the bulk of his recorded output. He pulls a few tricks with the piano-driven tracks “Arc” and “Fix”, the first sounding something of a Philip Glass throwaway, the latter sounding like a missing song from Rachel’s sublime Songs for Egon Schiele.  And while some sites have had a few issues with Blackshaw playing the black and whites, I commend it, since it shows his ability to try something different.