Album Review: James Blake- Overgrown
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James Blake returns with an impressive second album that is as varied as it is cohesive. Grime MC and previous collaborator Trim succinctly summed it up when he said Blake makes “weird music.” Although categorised as dance on iTunes, 80% of his material, particularly 2011’s self-titled debut album, would sooner clear out a dancefloor than fill it. For an artist that started making music as result of hearing dubstep in a club for the first time this may seem strange, yet the Aaliyah and Kelis sampling ‘CMYK’ (which was my first encounter with his work) clearly points to this influence. This idiosyncratic take on early dubstep rife with soul influences from the likes of D’Angelo led to his music being labelled as post-dubstep alongside that of good friends Mount Kimbie and former housemate Ifan Dafydd. However ‘Limit to Your Love’ saw the beginning of Blake delving into soul singer/songwriter territory, incorporating his classical background. His debut followed in this vein which for some was surprising as it was disappointing. Even Blake himself has expressed his dissatisfaction with the album feeling that it was disjointed and lacking focus. Though it still received a Mercury music prize nomination and propelled Blake into the spotlight. As well as making the new album, the last two years have included extensive touring, being invited to Kanye West’s house and finally releasing the collaboration with Trim under his experimental hip-hop and RnB orientated Harmonimix moniker. Overgrown sees Blake effectively juggling his singer/songwriter and producer personas, demonstrating the potential that was hinted at in his debut.
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