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James Blake

James Blake

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Album Review

During 2009 and 2010, James Blake issued a clutch of abstract dubstep singles on Hemlock, Hessle Audio, and R&S. Each release increased anticipation for the producer’s next move as he continually shuffled the deck on his bristly, off-center, and generally groove-less tracks, some of which incorporated vocals — he sampled Kelis and Aaliyah on “CMYK,” for instance — or his own voice, heavily processed. The Klavierwerke EP, the last in the series, was the most stripped down of the bunch. The day after it was released, Blake uploaded a video for his dramatic cover version of Feist’s “Limit to Your Love,” which indicated that the focus on his voice and sparse backing would continue. Consisting of Blake's pensive vocal, a simple but affecting piano, and recurring beat weighed down by sub-bass, it’s one of the most straightforward tracks on Blake’s brief debut album. The following “Give Me My Month” deviates most from Blake’s vinyl output; it’s a wistful piano-and-voice ballad that has far more in common with Procol Harum than any given contemporary linked to Blake. The rest of the tracks are more like exercises in sound manipulation and reduction than songs. The approach is no fault, but Blake pares it down to such an extent that the material occasionally sounds not just tentative but feeble, fatigued, even, as on “I Never Learnt to Share,” where one creaky line is repeated and treated throughout, placed over swelling synthesizer frequencies and a stamping beat. “The Wilhelm Scream,” one of the album’s highlights, is far more effective, a ballad with a pulse that increases in intensity with skillfully deployed reverb and surging waves of soft noise.

Customer Reviews

Blake

Well listened to this bout eight times before I got it. If yo don't dig it first time round please give it time. Best listened to with a whiskey at five in morning after a great nite out wit friends! Turn up da bass and turn up the bliss! Brilliant stuff.

Great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Waited for a long time and finally he releases a great album. Thanks James! Additionally I'd like to recommend another great electronic music album to you: "Kollektiv Turmstrasse" - Rebellion der Träumer!

Biography

Born: 25 September 1988 in Enfield, London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Influenced by the likes of D’Angelo and Stevie Wonder along with Burial and Mount Kimbie, London-based producer James Blake first gave the world a taste of his quirky, R&B-sampling strain of dubstep in 2009 when his Air & Lack Thereof 12” appeared on the Hemlock label. Blake received quite the endorsement when the heralded Soul Jazz label picked the track up for their Steppas' Delight 2 compilation that same year. Blake raised his profile every few months during 2010 — something of...
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James Blake, James Blake
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