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James Blake: The Colour in Anything review – toweringly accomplished, heart-wrenchingly frail | Musique Non Stop

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Friday, May 6, 2016

James Blake: The Colour in Anything review – toweringly accomplished, heart-wrenchingly frail

James Blake’s third album suggests he’s the only person who can make the space in electronic pop sound like a void

On his third album, James Blake is where he has always been. A world of reverberating space, sparsely populated by stirring electronics and vocals both exquisite and distorted by the intensity of emotion (and a vocoder).

But more people have pitched up in that spare, sonic landscape since Blake released his debut in 2011. Then, along with the xx, he was at the vanguard of this new and quietly revered style: a minimal, restrained and sensitive electronic pop that you could hear being gradually constructed over the course of the song itself, in which the evocative vocal was king. Blake still rules as far the latter is concerned, but over the past five years the sound has become increasingly ubiquitous, with acts such as London Grammar, Jack Garratt and Låpsley taking it into the mainstream (its influence can also be heard on the trendy, pared-down productions of pop idols such as Justin Bieber and Zayn Malik). It is now as tasteful as it is thoughtful – but the former can be a pejorative term, implying this is electronic music that has been sanitised and gentrified, destined to be consumed in pleasant surroundings by earnestly nodding crowds.

Related: James Blake: ‘I'm the opposite of punk. I've subdued a generation’

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by Rachel Aroesti via Electronic music | The Guardian