James Blake is one soulful mother f—–. That’s about the easiest way to introduce this extremely talented young artist/producer out of London.
I was first brought to the attention of his existence when I had a brief foray into the world of dubstep, which is a downtempo, melody driven type of electronic music. He first garnered notice with his debut 12″ vinyl EP, entitled “Air and Lack Thereof” in 2009, which was received quite well across the United Kingdom and most notably by the BBC. He followed this up with a few more (mostly) instrumental EPs and doing remixes for acts like Mount Kimbie.
Blake then set upon recording his debut LP, the cover art of which is posted to the left. It was released earlier this month to pretty strong fanfare in the UK and he has quickly gotten the attention of those of us here in the United States. Not surprisingly, the album is very downtempo. I have had a tough time trying to generalize his music as the influences are all over the place. Ranging from modern to old school R&B, through virtually the entire pantheon of downtempo electronica.
The standout for me is not the music alone, but the kid’s (he’s only 22) stunning vocals. As mentioned, I had been familiar with his previous work i.e. the Klavierwerke EP which was released in 2010, but I was not prepared for what his album held in store for me. It’s a soulful, beautiful piece of music, with songs like the Feist cover “Limit to Your Love” and my personal favorite “The Wilhelm’s Scream” being my personal favorites.
I was tempted to write a review of the record, but instead I’d rather just introduce him to those that may not know him. If you enjoy soulful, relaxing music that makes you feel, you probably can’t do much better than James Blake right now.
Blake plays the Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 14th, which I believe is his United States solo debut before he heads to Austin for a few shows during SXSW. The Williamsburg show is currently sold out, but if you’re itching, I’d suggest following Bowery Presents and the Music Hall via Twitter and watch for some ticket releases. I’ll be attending this gig and am eagerly anticipating it. If you’re going, let me know!
In the meantime, here’s “The Wilhelm’s Scream” which was recorded for the BBC. You can also check out his website to listen to more. SXEHX9PEM8UR