From The Desk Of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness: James Blackshaw

“There was no sense of urgency, no real plan to finish this album,” says Chris Goyer, lead singer of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, a band that’s taken eight years to follow-up Fear Is On Our Side. With titles like “You Are Dead To Me” and “The Sun Burns Out,” Dust picks up exactly where Fear left off, piling dark atmospherics on top of pained, brooding, impenetrable lyrics about whatever happened to be on Goyer’s mind when the tape started rolling. If it sounds heavy, that’s because Ministry’s Paul Barker produced the album, just like the one before. If it occasionally sounds lighter, that’s because the rest of the band members—Daniel Del Favero, Ed Robert, Ernest Salaz and Tim White—haven’t lost their fondness for modular synths, chorus pedals and looping guitar arpeggios. ILYBICD will be guest editing all week. Read our recent feature on them.


Salaz: I’m very glad that James Blackshaw exists. He’s a monster of a musician. I love his music, focus and, especially, his technique. I would certainly place him in the lineage of such guitar greats like Jimmy Page, Robbie Basho, Davey Graham and, of course, Bert Jansch. It’s his attention to detail and sense of space between the notes that I relate to. His pieces seem to hover over a single key, like a drone, without a typical sense of progressing through key changes. Instead, he focuses on the moment, letting arpeggios and open strings create the melody. He also avoids bluesy expressions in favor of a more linear, austere playing style, almost neo-classical at times. He typically fingerpicks a 12-string acoustic with these long, intense fingernails, so it’s in this context that shapes the sound and tonality of his work. His guitar is not plugged but mic’ed directly, which gives it a more natural, warm sound. I think he’s great, and inspiring. You owe it to yourself to check him out and buy his music.

Videos after the jump.