James Blake – Klavierwerke EP James Blake – Klavierwerke EP

James Blake - Klavierwerke EP

James Blake - Klavierwerke EP

UK producer James Blake drops Klavierwerke EP to a high degree of anticipation- partly due to the extremely positive response that his CMYK EP garnered in April. A mash up of peculiar R&B samples and mangled dancefloor beats, many hailed CMYK as a bold new punctuation in dubstep. The other reason for the warm fuzzy cloud of hype surrounding the young beat maker generally lies in his standing within the electronic community. Most if not all of Blakes’ 12” singles have been met with critical acclaim and for some time he has been the big up and coming name in this genre.

Blake now releases Klavierwerke, or “Piano works”. It’s quite a fitting and accurate title- There’s a much more intimate feeling on the EP that is sustained throughout and does a good job of creating atmosphere. It’s just as well then, as on Klavierwerke Blake seems insistent on dangling hooks in front of the listener before abruptly yanking them away.

The title track opens with a teasing bit of piano- which then doesn’t show itself again for the track’s remainder. Generally speaking it’s glitchy- Blake utilizes quite a funky bass jolt for the majority of the song, all the while a chorus of ghostly voices twirl in the background as their pitch and phrasing is completely distorted. But it is intimate- the sinister voices in the background make you almost feel part of the track, especially if listening on headphones, and the ping pong drum beat also adds to an almost claustrophobic feeling. Elsewhere on “Tell Her Safe”, Blake uses chopped up vocal samples again, but this time alongside a fuzzy electronic buzz- with eyes closed it could almost be a Mount Kimbie track (a band you should devote your days listening to, starting right now). It’s the brightest sounding cut on Klavierwerke, yet this is despite- not because of- the lack of discernable hooks. Listening shouldn’t be this hard work.

Highlight “I Only Know (What I Know Now)” is the least infuriating of tracks; it embraces the piano of the EP’s namesake, and devotes itself entirely to being an intimate sounding piece of classical meets R&B.

If you hadn’t gathered, I’m not completely sold on this James Blake fellow just yet. Instead of being a great EP it ends up being one whose noticeable faults are saved by its’ occasional flourishes.

One reviewer on a well known music website, when describing Klavierwerke EP, wrote of Blake- “….there really isn’t anyone else making music quite like this.” I’d have to agree with that. There are those who are doing it much better.

James Blake - Klavierwerke EP, reviewed by Lemon on 2010-11-05T18:07:10-07:00 rating 3.0 out of 5

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