Aiko Shimada: Blue Marble I discovered this CD thanks to the recommendations of a computer. "People who buy Laurie Anderson CDs," it told me, "also bought Aiko Shimada's 'Blue Marble'." This was a major breakthrough. At the time (2002?), most computer recommendations were ridiculous. "You like classical guitar? You might also like the Spice Girls!" After this I began to trust my computer just a bit more.
The Laurie Anderson comparison is a stretch, but understandable. There are moments reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," others of the the Kronos Quartet. Sometimes Shimada sings accompanied by a band, sometimes by a string quartet ala "Eleanor Rigby". Sometimes it's just her and her electric guitar, or just her ethereal voice overdubbed over itself. There are also two instrumentals, one for violin and viola, the other for electric guitar (Bill Frisell!) and string quartet. But for all its diversity of instrumentation, Blue Marble is solid and cohesive, strong but gentle.