The Start of Something Special
24-year-old London-based producer and singer-songwriter, James Blake has been heralded as the messiah of London’s bass scene for the past three years. James gained significant attention over the course of 2010 after a trio of EPs and the release of his critically acclaimed 2011-debut album.
James Blake was born in 1988 and raised in Enfield, north London. James grew up in an artistic family; his father was a musician and his mother was a graphic designer. Early on, James developed a passion for music, He liked to play along and listen to old Motown, soul records, and gospel music.
James Blake went on to study contemporary music at Blur’s alma mater Goldsmiths College. While at university, James found his musical horizons widening.He was introduced to electronic and dub-step music which had a large impact on his own development as a musician. James took his newfound inspirations and his classical training to go on and create an entirely new sound and some of the most progressive sounding music to date.
Hard Work Pays Off
In my eyes James Blake’s self-titled debut was a masterpiece. The album was like a bridge between the known and unknown, sound and light, dreams and reality, sky and earth, and the waves of the ocean.
The entire album is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. Although, in some instances the album seemed slightly predictable and repetitive – unlike his CMYK Ep which had me guessing throughout.
The first single, ‘Retrograde’, is one of those songs that instantly captivates you. It serves as a great re-introduction into the mind of arguably the most exciting producers of our time. Blake returns to the scene where he left off with an even more powerful voice that radiates across the haunting landscapes that he has somehow managed to craft yet again. The production appears minimal in its construction but comes across as larger than life providing the listener with an unearthly environment that allows time for refections on love, tragedy and heartache. The subject matter of retrograde perfectly infuses itself with the stunning visuals created by Martin de Thurah. Retrograde shows that lyrically and musically James has grown as a musician and a person.
Hopefully on the new album James conjures up more of his unique take on sampled, chopped up R&B vocals – over spaced out bass driven beats; in conjunction with using his silky, fragile voice over impossibly synth soundscapes.
If James can harness both sounds and effectively use them by keeping the energy and a consistent mood throughout the record, he will have another massive hit on his hands.