Login | Sign-Up

Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews

8.1

James Blake
James Blake

It's a high wire walk when it comes to using auto-tune. As soon as you push the Do You Believe In Love After Lovebutton, you could either be crafting something moving that takes the voice to a different dimension as a musical instrument — as artists like Imogen Heap, Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens have done/attempted — or you could be flicking the switch on a mega abortion as seen in the recent Black Eyed Peas' Superbowl performance/rape.

Thankfully, British electro minimalist magician — and top-ten-ranked USA tennis player known for his speed and powerful, flat forehand — James Blake has utilised T-Pain's meal ticket to incredible effect. Manipulating his already very soulful and beautiful voice with auto-tune adds a level of warmth that at times melts the cold and naked production howling throughout his debut LP like an icy winter wind.

The way each song is meticulously arranged and sang is also the key to preventing his extensive use of auto-tune from feeling schticky. Floating beats, hums of melody from keys/synths/guitars, his Antony-esque vocals, and the eerie amounts of space that fill each song, combine to produce a record that is as equally unique as it is comfortingly familiar.

The aforementioned vocal elements of Antony particularly shine on the tracks that feature little to no vocal manipulation, Why Don't You Call Me, and Give Me My Month and a stunning cover of Feist's Limit To Your Love. Meanwhile tracks like I Never Learned To Share, Lindesfarne I and II and Measurements recall Heap's Hide And Seek, Bon Iver's Woods and even Elliot Smith's I Didn't Understand.

But it's on standouts like Wilhelms Scream and To Care (Like You) where Blake really stamps his signature and differentiates what separates him as an individual artist in a climate where more and more musicians are experimenting with electronic music and production in an endeavour to establish new sounds or separate themselves from their earlier work.

As you empty the very complicated suitcase that is this record, with it's myriad of colours, textures and fabrics, you realise how much time Blake has spent ensuring that each necessity has been organised and layered in, so he could bring everything to the listener he possibly could. And despite listening to this record over and over again I continue to find more and more treasures hidden within the folds.

Filed Under
Record Reviews
James Blake

 

You'll Probly Like This Stuff Too

 

Comments

Comments are currently closed because Spam Bots ruin everything.