Sunday, 7 November 2010

Another side to James Blake

Its certainly interesting that after little more than a year since his first official release on Hemlock, James Blake has gathered a die hard fan base in the UK and even further afield, nameless fans on the net drop him titles like ‘the future of dubstep’ , ‘pioneer in sound’, one such fan even suggested of his music that, ‘i can’t believe a human made this’. Perhaps…

All hype around the man is well deserved, his music is at times incomprehensible yet coherent, distorted yet sharp and to the point and so it comes as no surprise that such a talented soul is a Goldsmiths alumni, prestigious British university for the arts. From interviews we can read, it is clear he is an articulate individual, but could you be surprised any more?

It is not however Blakes distinctive new sound nor his intelligence that needs touching on any further in the blogosphere, thats granted.  But it is his vast array of unreleased and white label material as a remixer and performer that people should know more about. Real Blake heads need not read any further, for those who do, lets jump down the earhole on Blakes other side…

I believe we first encountered Blakes talents as a singer and piano performer through two rough improvisational recordings he chose to play on a live Gilles Peterson show back in May but since then various tracks have come out of the woodworks that shed light on Blakes traditional (kind of) work. This side of Blake can best be found in the two tracks (‘Limit to your love’ & ‘Measurements’) below.

Blake has also been making limited pressings of remixes under his ‘Harmonimix’ moniker, if you found it surprising to see Blake stripped bare of his usual complex electronic soundscapes in the last two tracks, you might equally be blown away that his output does not just lie in avante-garde dance music or traditional approaches but that he can also be upbeat and downright ‘poppy’, in his own sort of way, of course. ‘A Milli’ remix (see soundcloud below) offers the best example of this in which he layers pitchbent Lil wayne vocals on top of another to form an unorthodox harmony, subtle synth hooks then add to the gradual rise in the overall emotion of the track.

With his piano and vocal arrangements now shining through on the recentKlavierwerke Ep, particularly on the introspective beauty of ‘i only know (what i now know)’, can we expect to see Blakes many musical heads to fuse on his upcoming debut album? Lets hope so.

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