Strike a Pose

My first introduction to James Blake was on his song The Wilhelm Scream. It was like nothing I'd ever heard before and at the time, it was such a welcome distraction from the bland sameness of what was heavy rotation on the radio.

“The Wilhelm Scream”, a standout from Blake’s song-centric long-player, is a ballad like so many ballads before it: just a smattering of lines, a hushed, pleading voice going for gut-wallop. But set this one next to Adele or Coldplay, and you’ll realise not just how much is missing, but how much is gained in leaving it out. Digging into an obscure tune from his father’s all-but-forgotten band, Blake confesses uncertainty (“I don’t know about my dreams”), then resignation (“might as well fall”), as the track— just a couple of synth gurgles, a few weird creaks and bangs— transforms itself slowly. It’s the sound of Blake’s uneasy mind eventually emptied onto tape. His voice is lovely running up and down the side of the track, but without the flourishes that billow into the room in its second half, “Wilhelm” is barely a husk of a song. As it runs, “Wilhelm” gradually reveals a much darker, more conflicted song than its first bars would suggest: a pop song from a bygone era, deconstructed, wiped clean, then reconfigured into something strange and new. Perched between the experimentation Blake made a reputation on and his more recent explorations of odd-angled pop, “Wilhelm” deftly balances both -

With moves like the one below, it is no surprise that Blake isn't on the list of 50 Worst Things In Music, 2013.


Many credit James Blake’s first album with creating a new dimension for electronic music, by making it more soulful at a time when the genre as a whole was starting to feel formulaic and meaningless - Cedar  

Follow the links for a look at James Blake at work, how he inspired portions of Drake's Take Care and opinions on his brand of  electronic music.  

There’s no politically correct way of saying that James Blake’s music is infinitely better when he works with black voices so fuck political correctness. -  

In his interview with Pigeons and Planes and MTV, Blake shares things that warm up the cockles of his heart and in case you haven't seen the visual for the beautiful Retrograde yet:

Peace, Love & Movement