Cutting-edge UK producer/singer James Blake performs at The Current

James Blake performs his new single "Retrograde" live in the studios of 89.3 The Current in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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James Blake performs in The Current studios
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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."

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10 Photos

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    UK producer/singer James Blake in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    UK producer/singer James Blake in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    UK producer/singer James Blake in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    Ben Assiter, drummer for James Blake, in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    Rob McAndrews, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist for James Blake, in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    Ben Assiter and Rob McAndrews joined James Blake in the studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    James Blake at First Avenue on May 1, 2013. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    James Blake at First Avenue on May 1, 2013. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    Rob McAndrews plays with James Blake at First Avenue. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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    James Blake at First Avenue on May 1, 2013. (MPR / Nate Ryan)