New Cross based producer James Blake has been making waves on the UK underground for nearly 18 months now. Blake’s EP ‘Air & Lack Thereof’ (released on Hemlock in 2009) was a breath of fresh air amongst a bewildering array of derivative dubstep / wonky / 2-step garage releases, with the title track included on Soul Jazz’s ‘Steppa’s Delight 2’ and the flip ‘Sparing the Horses’ featured on Dubstep Allstars Volume 7.

2010 has seen Blake release his ‘CYMK’ EP on the seminal R&S recordings, resulting in a legion of excitable dance music journalists dusting off unfamiliar language and extolling the virtues of chord progressions and harmony whilst stuttering in amazement at the sheer precocity of someone singing over programmed material. Comparisons to Jamie Lidell abound, but in all honesty this is a unique and well crafted record with some of the most well considered sampling I’ve heard in recent years. It’s a big leap in both style and individuality from ‘Air & Lack Thereof’, a testament to Blake’s growth as a musician and a strong sign for Blake’s future releases.

One of the most engaging things about this EP is the feeling of subtle depth in both the samples and the production styling (The paring of Kelis and Aaliyah for example). ‘CMYK’ feels like something quite different compared to the average UK underground release. Blake deserves the praise that is being heaped upon him. Here’s hoping that he continues along his current path.

The title track of the EP, ‘CMYK’ sees the vocal skills of Kelis and Aaliyah juxtaposed to beautiful effect over a hissing sea of noise, clicking rim-shots and warm synths – I’ve included it below.

Download / Listen Here

[James Blake – CMYK]

James Blake – CMYK [removed by request]

Mount Kimbie – Maybes (James Blake Remix)


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