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James Blake [2 LP]

4.2 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Vinyl, April 12, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

James Blake- 1000

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Tep and the Logic
  2. Unluck
  3. The Wilhelm Scream
  4. I Never Learnt to Share
  5. Lindesfarne I
  6. Lindesfarne II

Disc: 2

  1. Limit to Your Love
  2. Give Me My Month
  3. To Care (Like You)
  4. Why Don't You Call Me?
  5. I Mind
  6. Measurements
  7. You Know Your Youth


Product Details

  • Vinyl (April 12, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Republic
  • ASIN: B004I9CR5K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,786 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music
James Blake is a precocious talent and arrived with a large splash following his stunning cover of Feist's beautifully elegiac "Limit to your love" included here in all its slow burning glory. As an artist he is a disciple of the "less is more" school with this debut album characterized by a predominant sparsity in certain songs often stripping out layers of instrumentation in favour of voice, bass loops and synth (and in the case of Lindisfarne 1 a straight vocoderised acappella)

The album soulful opener "Unluck" does remind of Bon Iver's "Woods" from last years "Blood Bank EP" with its use of vocoder style vocals but ultimately differs with its deep clicks and an minimalist intensity. It is followed by "Wilhelm's scream" a song that has been distributed freely on music blogs and one that has spent so much time on my PC speakers it could claim squatting rights. The huge debt, which Blake owes to dubstep, is revealed and builds to a digital intensity around the continual refrain of the lines "I don't know about my love anymore/all I know is I'm falling". This should be the starting point for the curious listener. "I never learned to share" is again based around a repetitive lyric but with all sort of electronic shenanigans going on in the background almost suggesting a church like ambience.

Blake's debut is often an introspective and moody piece of work, which can make The XX look like the Beach Boys in the fun stakes. But this is not a criticism; with some songs drifting along at a snails pace it can lead you to think that they may have finished, yet it gives the album a Sinatra like "wee small hours" quality. This will mean that Blake's debut will primarily be a late night feast.
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Format: MP3 Music
This album has a great feel to it, Has honest vocals and good electronic beats. I want a bit more variance in style, where I feel the production becomes a bit monotonous. I think people who like this would definitely like the group Dropa, very similar style and influences. Great release and awesome textures and movements.
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Format: Audio CD
21 yr. old James Blake has seemingly come out of nowhere in the last 12 months with a couple of EP vinyl releases that created a sizable buzz and major anticipation for his debut album, which finally was released in February, 2011. In case you are not familiar with his sound: minimal, chill, electronic and heavily processed will give you an idea.

"James Blake" (11 tracks; 38 min.) starts off with "Unluck", which features spares instrumentation and a heavily processed lead vocal. It is followed by "The Wilhelm Scream" (2nd UK single), which is one of the more accessible songs here. "I Never Learnt To Share" features only one line ("My brother and my sister don't speak to me/But I don't blame them"), which is repeated over and over again, while a wave of electronic sounds builds up. "Lindisfarme I and II" starts with just Blake's voice heavily sequenced and redone, with eventually some instrumentation as well. "Limit To Your Love" (1st UK single) is by now the signature song of Blake's short career, a compelling cover of Feist' track from her "The Reminder" album. It is one of the more traditional songs on this album, and I say that in the vaguest sense of the word, as the song is still nothing like what you might expect to hear on mainstream commercial radio. With underlying piano and Blake's vocals upfront, it reminded me of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine", of all things. After that, things slow down more and more, and most of the remainder 5 tracks are what I would call mostly electronic vignettes, more sound experimentation than true songs (check "I Mind" for example). And that is not a criticism, on the contrary.

In all, I cannot emphasize enough how pleased and impressed I am with album. No melodies to speak of, just electronic mood-sounds.
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Format: Audio CD
Every year or so, someone new is appointed as the "savior of electronic music." In 2011, that title fell to James Blake and his eponymous debut. And? It's actually quite a good piece of work. Blake's interest leans on the possibilities of the manipulation of his own voice -- in "Unluck," he turns himself into an electrified chorus, while on "I Never Learned to Share," the processed and unprocessed come into conflict, a sort of laryngeal sibling rivalry. He forms his own a cappella group on "Measurements." If there's a drawback to Blake's method, it's that too many tracks have the same song structure: starts with vocals, slow introduction of the beat and the electronics, build, end. "Lindisfarne II" gives it a folk twist, but some more structural variation would probably be welcome. That said, what he does, he does well. The soul piano on "Limit to Your Love" and the short and glitchy "Why Don't You Call Me" shows that he has a knack for melody. It's most evident on "The Wilhelm Scream," the closest he's come to a 'hit,' takes familiar R&B tropes and converts them into a quiet, creeping sadness that builds upon its silences while slowly filling the empty spaces with buzzing layers of sound. A strong debut, but one that shows Blake has plenty of room to grow.
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James Blake [2 LP]
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