James Blake ‘Klavierwerke’ EP Review

His inventory of musical skills appears never-ending; James Blake is reinventing the usual conceptions of what constitutes music.

There’s a bright star on the musical horizon these days, and like so many other innovative artists in the history of music, this one shines out of England. Londoner James Blake is only twenty-three years old, and is producing astounding work.

Elsewhere on this site we recently posted his cover of Feist’s “Limit To Your Love”, which is notable for both its strong interpretation of the song, but also for some of the most creative video work ever applied to music. The sheer brilliance of this effort compelled the staff at Vivascene to seek out what else this man has done, and we want to tell you that this music is like no other. His inventory of musical skills appears never-ending; this guy is reinventing the usual conceptions of what constitutes music. I say music because this is not dance music or pop music or garage or dub or dubstep, but it certainly takes elements from all of that and moves it into a new frontier; this stuff is personal, introspective, experimental and haunting.

His new EP is called Klavierwerke, which means “piano works” in German; this is a fairly common term in classical music but it’s usually applied to the output of such masters as Bach, Mozart and other dead composers from a couple of centuries ago. It’s rather an audacious title, but Blake is classically trained. In fact, if Bach ever shows up in the 21st century he may well head to that famous Berlin techno spot Berghain and start churning out the kind of new sounds that James Blake is creating. Or maybe that’s already happened.

A stellar track is “I Only Know (What I Know Now)” and it is a tension-filled piano and bass arrangement, incorporating samples as most of his work does. The vocal is tweaked, deep, and raw, and may be recognizable only to your emotions, but certainly not to the logical, Western, lyric-based mind.

The EP consists of 4 songs, and is available on vinyl, as is all of Blake’s work to date.

Brian Miller

Brian Miller is the Publisher and Editor of Vivascene, which he founded in 2010. A former record store owner, business executive and business writer, he is devoted to vinyl records, classical guitar, and b&w photography.

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