Blackshaw & Van Wissem Psych-Folk Downloads

If there’s a musician today who best builds on the Zen folk of John Fahey, it’s James Blackshaw, whose cycling finger-picking and modal zone-outs bring to mind Fahey’s philosophically inspired work. Brethren of the Free Spirit is not the name of some rogue sect from Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, though its music could suit one of that novel’s mathic convents. The Brethren is Blackshaw functioning side by side with outward bound lutist Jozef Van Wissem, who plays his instrument as if it were an occidental sitar. Heard on their recent The Wolf Also Shall Dwell With the Lamb (Important) full length, they collaborate like some intricate device spinning in slow motion, effervescent lines forming meditative patterns that seduce through hypnotism. At times (check out “Into the Dust of the Earth,” a free download from the label’s website: WAV) they have the ersatz-Renaissance feel of some early Metallica song, but the works on The Wolf — needless to say — never launch themselves into a ferocious riff; instead they trickle on at their own quiet pace. Also available for free download is segment of the title track (WAV). More info at

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