James Blake

In the last year there seemed to be a sort of rift between James Blake’s growing catalog. There was Blake, the singer-songwriter who created warped, knotty soul music on his self-titled debut, and then there was Blake, the post-dubstep producer whose early trio of EPs comprised some of most original electronic music of 2011. Of course many people (myself incuded) enjoy all his work, but even with some throwbacks (like the wonky “Curbside” there still seemed to be this nagging feeling of James Blake, then and now. Not a change in quality, but still, a change.

I think that’s what makes the Brian Eno collaboration “Digital Lion,” and the second new track we’ve heard today, so incredible. Blake has melded these two aspects of his music like never before. The sound is meditative, yet propulsive, and after the gentle introduction is broken by an ambient interlude the song return with a growing menace. This is James Blake at his best and most complex, and along with first single “Retrograde” it’s starting to look like his best work is only coming now. Check out digital “Digital Lion” below and look for Overgrown next month.

Overgrown is out 4/8 on Republic Records

Comments (9)

  2. I really enjoy reading music criticism, which is partly why I follow Stereogum and a dozen or so other blogs. However, the James Blake backlash and the likely widespread backtracking are an example of some writers (not Miles) and consumers getting caught up in swirls of popular opinion which don’t stem from or result in critical thinking.

    Hearing, personally evaluating, and being affected by music before reading others’ opinions can be a great thing, and it’s easy to get away from doing so with any regularity these days. I enjoyed listening to Digital Lion before reading people’s reactions to it, and my level of excitement for Overgrown has been appropriately adjusted…

    (SPOILER: upward)

  3. This is borderline Radiohead!

  4. Well, I’ll be danged if this isn’t tripping me out something right.

  5. James Blake is going to kick everyone’s ass this year!

  6. went to order the vinyl on his official site – apparently it’s going to cost me $62 to get it shipped to Canada .. what is in this vinyl package!? he better be including some keepsake pubes or something..

  7. I just blue myself.

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