Brethren of the Free Spirit - The Wolf Also Shall Dwell With the Lamb LP/CD
* Warehouse find - black vinyl
LP is limited to 500 copies. The first 100 are on white vinyl. CD version is packaged in a digipack.
Brethren of the Free Spirit are guitarist/composer James Blackshaw and lutenist/composer Jozef van Wissem. Named after a cult of 13th-century Northern European religious heretics, this duo play with an appropriately zealous intensity. Brethren of the Free Spirit debuted in New York and went on a crusade through the Lowlands, Belgium, Spain, Ireland and London, even appearing On the Dutch National VPRO TV show Vrije Geluiden. Intricate phrases circle and spiral in on themselves, and in the end it's the subtle shifts in rhythm and tonal coloration that provide a kind of transcendence in a sea of repetition.
The Wolf Shall Also... was recorded at Locksley Hall, Amsterdam in April 2008. It consists of four long circular compositions in which the duo employ all methods of contemporary performance styles to free the lute and merge the two instruments. Intentionally recorded in mono, it's occasionally impossible to tell the two instruments apart. Perhaps that's just what makes this duo so successful - the players and the instruments become unified in historical references to the musics of both the ancient lute and contemporary acoustic guitar. For example, Into the Dust of the Earth is based on a classical baroque lute prelude from 1650 by an anonymous composer. The theme is mirrored midway, turning the piece into a palindrome, updating the material in the process. Blackshaw weaves his 12-string tapestry hypnotically intertwining the lute and the guitar into one modern piece of ancient tunage bringing the lute into the present day.
The drawings on the cover by Belgian brethren Wouter Van Haelemeesch reference Greek myths as well as medieval alchemical emblems by the likes of Michael Maier.