James Blake - James Blake

2011, A&M Records, London

The slight almost glockenspiel like synth line from CMYK still bounces around in my head almost all of the time. My friends and family won't let me play the song anymore after wearing it out through most of the last ten months. The spearhead in my mind, along with Joy Orbison and Mount Kimbie, of everything both incredibly dancey and incredibly good. One of the only tracks in a long time that deserves to be as wildly anthemic as it is.

And then there's the other EPs, and the Air And Lack Thereof single, and the incredible Strike A Pose rip. And rumors of classical vocal training and other wild thoughts. And then there was the Limit To Your Love video.

Very different than before, and I was lusting for more dancefloor cerebral bangers, but it was very good. I liked the minimalism, his voice, the quiet drop with the sparse beat in the middle. It took a while for me to hear it with good headphones and heard the incredible mind vibrating rumble under it, so low that my speakers couldn't play it at all yet still melodic. Frequencies so low that it's hard to believe my ears can even pick it up.

Perhaps that's what's so wonderful about James Blake's first album, the use of his deep dubstep techniques for songwriterly purposes, as opposed to his EP's where he used emotional songwriting to enhance the dance cuts. There's nothing to dance to on the record which was a let down to me. In fact, there's not a lot on this album in the first place. Most songs are so boiled down that only one line remains, but this works just as well as the looping synth on CMYK. But while the build CMYK makes me want to move and might make me want to shout, the build on The Wilhelm Scream might make we want to die in it's beauty. In it's fidelity. In the whole albums beauty.

Faults? A dozen. The halves are disjointed, with the Feist cover standing out way way to much. Some of the songs could use so much more, some of them are even boring. But mostly the entire album just seems completely formless, almost a slight bit empty. Still, this is a great album, don't mistake. This is an album worth owning.

Will he make better work going forward? Yes, I'm mostly sure he's a genius based on his chameleon motions and crazy prolificness while retaining near-masterpiece form across the board. The dude is real damn young and he'll keep getting better. Am I one of those assholes who still prefers the early dubstep stuff? ..........yes.

fly too high

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