Two guitar players in one intimate room under a vegan cafe. One acoustic and one electric. Both musicians forging their own contrasting paths by virtue of their singular visions / compositions and alliances.
James Blackshaw‘s guitar is meditative in quality and cinematic in scope, his music spiraling gracefully with patterns, motifs and harmonics that somehow puts the listener in a bubble, allowing you to relish the fragility and sinking/lifting emotions encapsulated in his songs. Swirling overtones, cascading notes and a thousand points of light cascade from his guitar and create ever-shifting textures that bear the influence of contemporary classical composition, post-rock dynamics and invisible soundtracks as much as the American folk guitar tradition. Collaborations with The Swans, Nancy Elizabeth and Current 93 all point to James’s special ways.
New album Love is The Plan, The Plan Is Death (Important Records) is a beautiful and bittersweet piece of work containing six original pieces whose titles are lovingly misappropriated from those of short stories by the great science fiction author James Tiptree Jr AKA Alice B. Sheldon. The instrumentation is more stripped back and integrated than on recent albums, allowing his impeccable nylon-string classical guitar playing to come to the fore, with small details like the scraping of his fingers on the strings and breathing patterns adding to the emotional honesty of the mix.
When Michael Flower plugs in his guitar the venue somehow shrinks and the electricity and vibe gets channelled deep into his axe and amp. The tension is tight as one can never predict what will be played but Mick’s leaning is towards expansive and spiritual sound paths. Raw and ragged music can pore out, then chop and morph into something more zoned and shimmering. His music is both rooted in classic rock and the odd and ethnic, this allows it to be dizzingly hand built and tactile while being emotionally honest and direct.
Mick is a member of Leeds’ Vibracathedral Orchestra, and a lynch pin of the improvising rock/noise/drone world, who played and released with artists such as Tony Conrad, Sunburned Hand Of The Man, MV&EE and with Chris Corsano on his electric shaahi baaja. This will be a pretty rare solo show. Looking forward.