James Blake: The Bells Sketch (Hessle Audio)
James Blake explores the outer limits of dubstep and future jazz on this 12", one of several he’s released in 2010. I stumbled onto this along with 2 other releases in quick succession, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that they didn’t make a strong impression on me. In fact he quickly became one of my favorite new producers to follow; he’s making some truly interesting music, and I’m curious to see where he takes it on each successive release. The Bells Sketch begins with what you might describe as really weird R&B, using manipulated and bent vocals alongside tweaked brass samples, glitchy electronics and a plodding downtempo anti-groove. “Give a Man a Rod” is a nice complement to the title cut, but “Buzzard & Kestrel,” sandwiched in between the two, is the odd man out. It’s the weakest of the three, but there’s still something compelling in how weird it is with its insistent looping samples and synths.
Listen/watch: The Bells Sketch