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Rare Frequencies: Drone folk to dream glitch


VIDEO: Coralcola, "Heath Ledger (live at Great Scott)

It’s been more than a year since guitarist JAMES BLACKSHAW came through town. Back then, he was riding a wave of critical acclaim for The Cloud of Unknowing (Tompkins Square), and he played a technically and æsthetically breathtaking set at the BCA’s Mills Gallery. Since then, he’s released another beautiful solo album on Tompkins, Litany of Echoes, as well as an album of intense, repetitive compositions with the Dutch avant-garde lute player Jozef van Wissem under the name Brethren of the Free Spirit.

Blackshaw is a prodigiously talented player, and it’s tempting to pigeonhole him as a young standard bearer of the Takoma tradition, which was pioneered by such 12-string luminaries as John Fahey and Robbie Basho. To be sure, he’s been inspired by his illustrious predecessors (he’s an especially big fan of Basho’s æthereal, trippy playing); yet with its ringing, bell-like overtones and use of looping patterns, his music is influenced as much by minimalism and the avant-garde as it is by folk. For his concert at the Brattle Theatre next Thursday, he’ll be joined by silken-voiced singer MEG BAIRD of the psych-folk band Espers and Maine guitarist/singer (and former Pinkerton Thug) MICAH BLUE SMALDONE.

If you missed the release party at the Alchemist Lounge by local techno producer Mikey Lee (a/k/a CORALCOLA), you can still grab his debut. Lee has been dazzling local DJs with a string of MP3s for a year now, and after many delays and technical problems that included a hard-drive crash, his first official release, 747, is out on the Cassingle Club label. Yes, this is on cassette! It may not be your format of choice, but fret not: with every purchase you get a special PIN and a link to a 320 kps download, so you can revel in Coralcola’s dreamily buoyant techno, in which he sounds like a blissed-out distant cousin of Sweden’s the Field.

JAMES BLACKSHAW + MEG BAIRD + MICAH BLUE SMALDONE | Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle St, Cambridge | March 5 at 7:30 pm | $15 | 617.876.4275 or www.worldmusic.org

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