Artist of the week: James Blake
Though it’s no brainer to pinpoint the influences that shape James Blake’s music (soulful R&B with dubstep dynamics), the truth is that it is no short of a miracle that one single person can aggregate the sheer musicianship of Stevie Wonder or D’Angelo with the craftsman skills of Burial or Mount Kimble.
After gaining some recognition in 2010 thanks to a trio of dubstep-influenced EPs, the eponymous debut released the following year pretty much defined his sound for the years to come: processed vocal sample from 90’s R&B, prominent sub-bass frequencies and minimal, jittery rhythms. 2013’s and Mercury Prize awarded Overgrown further explored his signature urban sound, turning one of the most looked-after musicians for collaborations, mainly in United States, where his reputation and fame never ceased to grow in the following years.
His third and recently released third album, The Colour in Anything, is by far his longest, diverse and nuanced record to date. The help of Rick Rubin in the production and the features by Frank Ocean and Justin Vernon add a welcomed sharpness and variety in James Blake’s usual foggy and extremely textured songs. There’s surely a lot to process throughout its 76 minutes, but the rewards are immense.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.