Sunday, 2 September 2007


01 the cloud of unknowing
02 running to the ghost
03 clouds collapse
04 the mirror speaks
05 stained glass windows

"Running To The Ghost" again finds Blackshaw using some interesting tuning (as most of his songs do) while both glockenspiel and violin accent the quickly evolving guitar melodies. As with everything he does on this release, the additional instrumentation is very subtle, providing beautiful counter-melodies to his guitar. In fact, the confidence that Blackshaw shows with his guitar on The Cloud Of Unknowing is one of reasons it's so solid. On past releases, he'd get away from his instrument of choice at times, sometimes making the release veer off course a bit. Here, there's only one track ("Clouds Collapse") without guitars, and it arrives halfway through more as breather than anything else.

"The Mirror Speaks" roughens the edges just slightly, with a tinge of a blues influence as it winds through over six and a half minutes of spiraling sections as strings vibrate with vigor in places but eventually wind up in a warmer place. "Stained Glass Windows" closes the release, and at over fifteen minutes evolves so beautifully that it feels half that length. Starting out slightly more sparsely, it builds ever-so-slightly in intensity throughout, before some soft violin layers in about halfway through and takes it up yet another level. If you've heard past work from Blackshaw and enjoyed it, you absolutely can't go wrong with this release. I'm not going to say that it's on a par with work by the likes of John Fahey, but Blackshaw has clearly reached a level of composition and writing that is matched by few of his contemporaries. This is some stunning stuff." Almost Cool


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