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Playground magazine



CMYK EP | PlayGround | Albums ep

James Blake



Artist: James Blake

R&S (RS1003D, digital)

As he says himself, James Blake -not to be confused by the tennis player- is not trying to make you throw shapes on the dancefloor. Instead, he would like you flooded with tears,and to be able to get under your skin with a warm and smoothing sound. He prefers the internal emotion to the physical manifestation of ecstasy, an orientation that, perhaps, could work against him: music that defines itself as soapy, it does so through many clichés easily targeted as ridiculous (Ultravox are still paying the prize of a title like “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes”). But this is not yet the case with Blake: signing of the year by Hessle Audio, occasional collaborator and remixer of Mount Kimbie, the latest bet by the R&S label, and in none of and this could we tag him as arrogant or as looking down on hedonism or rooting himself with the indie cliché of the “emo guy”. Actually his music does what it says on the tin: warm high frequencies that get under your skin before reaching the brain. In another words: it has certain quality of dance electronic music which has to be felt before being listened to. Therefore, Blake uses synths with long notes and thick grain, accompanied by pitched up and down vocal lines -á la Burial- with an aesthetic intention closer to the pitched up samples by Kanye West and in 2step garage (“CMYK”). This is almost a relaxed maxi-single: “Footnotes” is a torrid funk of a forthcoming century, “Postpone” looks out the nocturnal jazz cadence and “I’ll Stay” drowns itself in the slow and rich ambience of most of the Hessle Audio dubstep output. James rejects the velocity with his attention to emotional intensity creating a high value item that even if it’s not at the same level as Joy Orbison, he is strolling through the same landscape, a hybrid of dubstep, deep house and vocals to spark a fire.

Javier Blánquez

James Blake - CMYK by jdillon89

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