Rampaging across the blogosphere, James Blake’s music has traversed and codified many of the common influences appearing among breaking artists in the past six months. The London-based electronic producer, still only 21, is on his fourth EP. Here, I will be focusing on his third: CMYK.
You will see below ‘How to Dress Well’ and how Tom Krell’s bedroom-created dreams were inspired by 90s R&B. Well, CMYK is a rather different outcome from the same inputs. Aaliyah and Kelis samples are dropped in, worked upon and fished out of an electronic hubbub- as before HTDW, I could not have imagined. The genre focused upon is emotional, hazy and subtly tinged with memory: “a kind of dead zone for nostalgia, not yet retro-ready but no longer current”, says Mike Powell on Pitchfork. And I would certainly agree. Fleeting use of these 90s tracks do strike a dead zone, in which early twenty somethings- such as myself- have snippets of these commercial tracks from childhood lodged somewhere in the back of minds. Vague, and not fully formed.
The stop-start of ‘Footnotes’ drifts into an addictive half-beat reminiscent of the best warped dubstep. It rarely gets more than minimal, but never less than the synthesiser and clapping beat that together mark this out as a conspiratorial and jittery five minutes. The song with which most readers might be most familiar is 'CMYK'. Its upbeat and frequently joyous lifts are a good example of the smooth R&B Blake gently handles. ‘I’ll Stay’ is warmer, and I would love to know where he found the short, one second thuds that roll around it.
Overall, the EP is, in my view one of the best and most exciting of the year. In just four tracks, it could scarcely manage more wild journeying, both through time and exploring the subject of memory, with so few and carefully chosen blips, beats and jolts. Thoroughly recommended to any open minded listener...particularly in you enjoy How to Dress Well!
James Blake- CMYK
James Blake- Footnotes
White Denim kindly released this new EP Last Day of Summer for free through their WEBSITE last week. It's a rough outline of their work on a third album. 'Shy Billy' will hopefully really kick out after the 2mins-ish available now, when (or if) it's selected for the album.
White Denim- Shy Billy
I was fortunate enough to run into Later…With Jools Holland last Friday night, because this excellent blues singer was on called Rumer. John Prescott of all people also saw it apparently, and posted as much on twitter to show his generous support (appreciation that is, not a belt.) Rumer's performance really was a stand out for the series: confident, elegant and most of all touching compositions. In her voice, an unassuming melancholy and gentleness eminates, like the great Carole King. The album ‘Seasons of My Soul’ is out 1st November.
Rumer by Rumer
Rumer by Rumer