Take a minute. Put on your headphones. Take a few deep breaths.
Okay, you're ready to take in the soundscape that is James Blake's new single, "Wilhelm Scream."
Blake's self-titled new album is raw and simple, clean and precise, soulful, dreamy and dramatic. He takes the characteristic wobble bass and syncopated rhythms of dubstep, adds soulful free flowing and meditative vocals, slows it all down and turns it on it's heels to create a new forefront in electronic music: "post-dubstep." His music is tender and sincere, sometimes a little jarring in all of it's quietness. His lyrics are sparse and unforgiving. It isn't often we hear music that feels completely new, but Blake has managed to do this, seemingly by finding his own unique voice and not being afraid to sing out.
This haunting album is best heard with eyes closed and mind open. Blake's music begs the listener to pay full attention, something we rarely do in a society that has grown too comfortable with immediate gratification.
With all the patience required to listen to his music, I'm pleasantly surprised that his much-awaited full length has landed on the charts. Universal Republic, home to breakthrough crossover UK artists Amy Winehouse and Florence & the Machine, took a chance on Blake's left of center music; and so far it's paying off. True, this Londoner has been turning a lot of heads, landing a spot on Pitchfork's top 50 album's of 2010, and being awarded runner-up in BBC's renowned Sound of 2011 poll.
Blake's career is only just beginning, and I can't begin to imagine what comes next. Crossing my fingers for some sort of ingenious collaboration. You know, Adele doesn't live so far away...
Check out "Unluck" below to hear a most rare & moving use of AutoTune.