Just a few years ago, James Blake was a precocious and talented young electronic producer dabbling in the UK's vast, eclectic, fast-moving and amorphous "post-dubstep" scene with well-received tracks like "CMYK" and the mind-bending "I Only Know (What I Know Now)." Shortly thereafter, though, he began recording vocals over his own productions, swerving out of the dance music scene and into the vanguard of indie electro-pop with the wounded cyber-soul of his self-titled debut album. In the last few years, he's continued to produce dance tracks even as he recorded lovely covers of tunes by Joni Mitchell, and he's even had a few surprising one-off collaborations such as his bizarre EP release with Bon Iver.
Last month, he returned with another full-length, Overgrown, that trims down some of his more experimental tendencies but remains cutting-edge and contemporary, yielding a futuristic soul-pop sound. Single "Retrograde" has been lauded by critics and appreciated by scenesters on both sides of the pond, and other tracks on the album find him working with luminaries like Brian Eno and RZA.
In town for a gig at the First Avenue mainroom, Blake stopped by The Current studio to play a few songs and chat with host Steve Seel about his composing process, translating his electronic sounds to live-band performance, his career's development over the last couple of years, and his encounter with Kanye West.
Songs played: "Retrograde," "Overgrown" and "To the Last."
- James Blake
- New music: James Blake's wounded soul-pop single "Retrograde," which you'll hear on The Current starting this week, builds on the avant-R&B of James Blake's debut, but steers clear of the out-there electronic wrinkles that usually characterize his production.
- Album Review: James Blake - James Blake It's quite rare for a producer of dance music to make a foray into singing, but that's exactly what British electronic wunderkind James Blake has done on his self-titled debut LP.
- James Blake performs live in The Current studio English electronic, post-dubstep producer and singer/songwriter James Blake has only been making music for a short time - less than two years, but he's already making waves in electronic music. With a goal of trying to create new sounds, he accomplishes that his background in piano and harmonics.