Time was, three years ago, when James Blackshaw albums were very hard to come by. They were released on boutique American labels like Important and Tompkins Square, who, at the time, neither had UK distribution through outlets like Amazon nor offered digital downloads. The cost of getting them shipped to the UK was punitive, so the only realistic option was to get to the merch table early when James played a gig.
Then someone flicked a switch and suddenly pretty much everything he'd done was available on eMusic. So I've got it all now, apart from this album that wasn't there last time I looked, and this side project. Both of those will be rectified within the week, once my monthly eMusic quota refreshes.
But this CD dates back before the switch flick, after O True Believers, when I was hungry for more. I happened to visit JB's MySpace in August 2007, just after the second edition of this album was made available, by direct mail order from James himself. It's on the Göteborg-based boutique label, Kning Disk. The first edition was 465 copies; the second 800. (You could probably make the Top 20 if you sold them all in a week.) 800 "handmade" copies, in fact: I imagine the master craftspeople cutting the circular discs from sheets of polycarbonate plastic, and then etching the music into the surface by hand.
There's a review on Rate Your Music that criticises the sound and recording on this album, but I think they've done a very creditable job. The performance of Transient Life in Twilight seems in one passage to be taken at breakneck speed, but, that minor quibble aside, this is another fantastic Blackshaw release.
Here's James playing Transient Life… to send you on your way.
I love the occasionally casual air in playing such intricate music, as though to acknowledge that the music is playing him. The suggestion that there's something going on here more profound than even the 'creator' can grasp: he is just a vessel for another Creator (pace, atheists).
Discogs entry for this album
Wikipedia entry for this album
Rate Your Music entry for this album
Listen to this album in full at Last.fm
Listen to this album in full at Spotify