Friday, September 4, 2009

There Are No Words

...and I mean that quite literally about the music I'm featuring today. No words. Instrumental. Well... sorta. Read on.

First off: a guy with a guitar. James Blackshaw. There's been a ton of hype on this guy ever since he dropped his first album, 2005's Sunshrine. He's one of the biggest rising stars in contemporary acoustic guitar, and with good reason: drawing on (according to both his Myspace and my own sadly unlearned ears) influences as wide as Alfred Schnittke (warning! dissonant violins!), Philip Glass, and Mark Rothko, Blackshaw's often-unaccompanied 12-string guitar is absolutely hypnotic at times, weaving massively intricate patterns that never lose sight of the simplicity at their cores. Amazing stuff.

James Blackshaw - Running to the Ghost

Second: a guy with a guitar, and a guy with a lute, and the guy with the guitar is the same guy who I just talked abou, so there are some similarities, but it's a different project. Brethren of the Free Spirit - a completely awesome band name, by the way, if only because of its historical context - is a collaboration between James Blackshaw (go up one paragraph to read about him) and, I kid you not, lutist Jozef van Wissem. Adding the lute to Blackshaw's guitar brings another dimension in, centering the sound while at the same time removing a layer of gloss, stripping away some of the occasionally ostentatious detail that can keep Blackshaw's music from connecting with the listener on an emotional level.

Third: a girl singing, and a guy with drums. But wait! you say. Didn't you say that you were focusing on instrumental music? I can explain. It'll make sense, I promise. Wildbirds & Peacedrums is a band from Sweden, composed of a girl, Mariam Wallentin, and her husband, Andreas Werliin. Mariam does the singing; Andreas hits things with sticks. But Mariam's singing strikes me just as much as an effect as anything conventional - for lack of a better explanation, it's almost like she's doing a breathless, pseudo-postmodern reinterpretation of scat-singing. In general, it's awesome - and leads me to classify the band's music as something approaching instrumental, rather than in any other category.

We all good, then? Cool. Take a listen - it's pretty solid stuff. Visceral. Makes you dance like an idiot.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums - There Is No Light

Awesome. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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