We listen to many good things and write about far too few. Hence, there was one or the artists anno 2010 whose voice we didn’t make heard by our writing, although it would have been more than deserved. So instead of some half-baked top-of-the-year charts, we try to catch up for you and start with… James Blake:
A barely enlightened flat. Weightless fruits are floating around. Dreamy eyes wander through the room. The video to James Blake‘s most recent single, a cover of the Feist ballad “Limit To Your Love”, pictures despair and melancholic confusion. His mimic’s reduced, all in all the 22-year-old dubstep artist plays the distanced. But his voice is all the more intense, when it’s correlates with the piano.
The Brit knows, how to use his talents. Emotions are epically instrumentalised though his voice in connection with the sub-bass and the same piano. Besides fellow genre acts Mount Kimbie, Joy Orbison and Scuba, it’s also Blake, who’s letting vocals become a relevant sound device (again). (Mostly) left aside by the likes of Rusko, Rustie or Benga, they are now culminating in the works of Mount Kimbie (f.i. “Maybes”) and Blake (“Limit To Your Love”, “CMYK”). And the vocals as emotive extension do make the music more accessible for the listener. So you are even close to empathise with Blake, when he’s singing from his bed, “there’s a limit to your care.”
Whether described as post-dubstep, ambistep or post-classicism (?), the producer nourishes a fascinating potential of musical captivation (find the proof in “I Only Know (What I know now”), not easily letting the empathic listener go. Consequently, Blake is currently featured not a few 2010 charts.
First remixes as Harmonimix of Lil’ Wayne and Destiny’s Child and a first single “Air & Lack Thereof” under his real name were followed in this year by three extraordinary EPs. Before the both, Internet and music culture, polarising Klavierwerke EP (R&S Records), which with its blurry sounds recalled narcotic conditions, Blake already showed on The Bells Sketch (Hessle) and CMYK (again on R&S) his less emotional side.
Where he’s still orientating on r’n’b-like and rapider basslines on the predecessors, the Klavierwerke puts forward piano, bleeps and hushed vocals, suitably described with unexplainable dream sequences. And for his eponymous debut album, which will be released on February 7 by ATLAS/A&M Records (see artwork above and track listing at the bottom), one can expect more hazy sound elements vocal shreds. Furthermore, Blake told Pitchfork that the production was inspired by Bon Iver, Laura Marling and Joni Mitchell’s Blue.
And a first foretaste’s already promising: “Wilhelms Scream” is about nescience and sorrow, leading to pure hopelessness (“I’m fallin’, fallin’, fallin'”). Here Blake poetically arranges his voice with piano and ambient sounds again. The song is full of poetry and vulnerability. Once more, we reach a music therapeutic level though the artist:
James Blake : Wilhelm’s Scream (Stream)
Creative playing with one’s own voice, basses, synths plus piano (Blake) or guitar (Mount Kimbie) did and do characterise England’s young and rising dubstep artists. So one can be anxious to see what happens in 2011, as for instance the allegedly first live gigs by Blake on January 12 and 14 at Dutch EuroSonic Noorderslag Festival in Groningen and London’s Plan B – pre-sale is on. However, there was already a first and surprising live performance by the wunderkind in last week’s Manchester support slot for Everything Everything – watch the played beauts below (via The Fader):
James Blake James Blake:
2. Wilhelm’s Scream
3. I Never Learnt To Share
4. Lindesfarne I
5. Lindesfarne II
6. Limit To Your Love
7. Give Me My Month
8. To Care (Like You)
9. Why Don’t You Call Me
10. I Mind