Day 4 Mercury Prize – James Blake – James Blake

9 Aug

James Blake emerged this year with his self-titles electronic debut and an act that has certainly gained popularity over the year through with his album peaking at number 9 on the UK charts. As well as being up for the Mercury he has also been placed second in the BBC Sound of 2011 poll and was a nominee for the Brit 2011 Critic’s Choice award, but didn’t win, perhaps more luck here?

James Blake’s sound seems to be an electronic post-dubstep feel that goes quite well in your collection with Jamie xx but maybe this one’s not for me? If you’re a fan of this then maybe this is yours, but I don’t know it’s a bit… sluggish? Maybe not quite that bad, but I don’t feel like he progresses at all through the album.

The Jamie xx comparison is instantly seen on his most popular track The Wilheilm Scream and continues the backdrop of a dubstep beat on the intro Unluck. I am not a person who likes dubstep but this isn’t Chrispy dubstep this is more Skream.

So once that is over with we go onto Lindisfarne I and II this ditches the more slow beat and begins with an auto-tune sounding chime and a recurring drum beat that kind of seems a bit too ‘Um, yeah’ like there’s not much thought going into a bit but it’s supposed to be genius. I’m not doubting this guy’s production skills, I’m doubting his planning as a singer/songwriter.

Limit to Your Love attempts to be a bit more catchy but to be honest, it seems like he’s got a piano chorus that he fills the gaps in with another slow recurring drumbeat. Give Me Month seems to use the formula in the previous track but gets rid of the recurring drumbeat. Maybe I’m missing something on this LP but I don’t get it.

To Care (Like You) offers more of an exotic drumbeat but seems a bit too half-baked? It’s very evident in the next and final three tracks that the album has a pattern of choosing a rhythm for a song and sticks with it ’till the very end. It tries to be very intimate at times and intrinsic but I don’t get it!

James Blake is clearly a talented producer and has a vision but perhaps I don’t get it? I don’t quite get what the sound is supposed to be or what the song is about, or anything at all on this record. Perhaps not for me, therefore I can’t recommend it but if you like any form of dubstep I’m sure you’ll want to check it out.

Rating: 5/10

2 Responses to “Day 4 Mercury Prize – James Blake – James Blake”

  1. UPWDiane August 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    I think you are being too kind. It is more than sluggish. It is close to being sleepish or perhaps even attempting to be from a long lost era when one could be classed as “innovative” purely by adding extra over-dub or sounds made from an Apple rather than an instrument. There is far more innovative material out there. Keep it up. I like your reviews!

    • aculturedlad August 10, 2011 at 7:35 am #

      Thank you!

      It’s good to see that someone else agrees with me. Like I said in the review, it seems like I’m missing something or maybe it’s not for me but it’s just… bad. I don’t get this whole ‘innovative’ thing either, it just sounds like he’s spent a lot of time on Logic Pro.

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