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In the Spotlight: The Year of James Blake

By posted Jan 18, 2011 at 05:30 PM

If you haven't yet heard of James Blake, you are a terrible person. Read on for DJ Fresca's analysis of his upcoming LP.


James Blake had a pretty stellar 2010. Not only did he sign with A&M, but his three EPs The Bells Sketch, CMYK and Klavierwerke received a great deal of praise from music critics. Did I mention the UK native made BBC’s Sound of 2011 list? This year is shaping up quite nicely for the young prodigy as he prepares to release his self-titled LP on February 7. Below is the tracklist for the album (* = personal favorites):

1. Unluck

2. The Wilhelm 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*

11. Measurements

I had the opportunity to listen to the album (lucky me!), and it is nothing short of hauntingly beautiful. The impact is immediate and astonishing. The LP has a similar skeleton to Blake’s other EPs, yet  it evolves from earlier works in a refined manner. Similar toKlavierwerke and CMYK, the 21-year-old producer juxtaposes space and silence with the organic quality of his layered vocals. We are familiar with Blake’s ability to manipulate his vocal and piano recordings to create that soul-infused mechanical sound, but unlike the EPs - which all consist of voice and piano manipulations - the LP features Blake singing devoid of any voice distortion (for the most part). The first single, a cover of Feist’s “Limit to Your Love,” offers us a taste of Blake’s weathered crooning that drips all over the new album (check out the video below). Along with the new album, Blake is planning to tour with a new band of friends who will recreate his solitary sounds "100% live with no laptops to fixate on" (via). And he's got even more new music waiting for the right time to come out. "I don't just like to release old gems," he writes. "The things I want to release are things that excite me now, and there are a few tracks like that at the moment."

James Blake - Limit To Your Love from James Blake on Vimeo.

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