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'Summoning Suns' is James Blackshaw's tenth studio album and the first recording to feature his voice and lyrics. Drawing inspiration from 60's and 70's singer-songwriters, baroque/orchestral pop and folk music, while still sounding contemporary, 'Summoning Suns' is Blackshaw's foray into more traditional forms of songcraft.
Blackshaw sings in a gentle but assured voice while his words combine his personal experiences, neuroses and fantasy through many layers of abstraction, poeticism and dark humour.
While the deft fingerpicking acoustic guitar style of Blackshaw's previous recordings is still a prominent part of the sound, the songs are lushly and intricately arranged for drums, bass, piano, violin, flute and pedal steel guitar and features contributions from Simon Scott (Slowdive), Annie Nilsson and Japanese musicians Mori Wa Ikiteiru and Kaoru Noda (with whom he duets in Japanese on one song).
""It's guileless, charming, and the anchor of a masterful few minutes of acoustic pop so good they make you ask an unlikely question: Why hasn't James Blackshaw been singing all along?" Pitchfork 7.9
Albion's esteemed lord of achingly gorgeous acoustic 12-string instrumentalism returns to sun-dapple your fragile speakers, minds & lives once more with his painstakingly crystalline brand of tender fingerpicked loveliness. Aglow with guitar melodies that sparkle & xylophones that twinkle like campsite stars, throbbing church organs, fluttering flutes that dance around your head like little forest sprites, and the kind of mood that only seems to exist in dreams that you wake up wishing you could remember, Summoning Suns (which features a number of talented sidepersons, including Simon Scott of Slowdive) is James Blackshaw's twelfth (!) studio album by our reckoning, but only the first to feature his voice (with the exception of the occasional background breathing that could be picked up on some of his more sparse early acoustic tracks - seriously, listen for 'em!). What took so long?? The hushed patient sigh of Blackshaw's voice is a perfect accompaniment to his summery yet somber, bright yet bittersweet, lush yet longing compositions, at times recalling the pastoral Renaissance meadowland folk of Amazing Blondel and elsewhere the haunted bedroom whisper of Elliott Smith. Like much of Blackshaw's best work, Summoning Suns sublimely balances stately timeless beauty with faraway unnamable yearning, a faint sadness drifting beneath even the most glorious of melodies - a reminder that even the sunniest days only last until sundown - beautiful and fleeting, just like this record. Aquarius Records