James Blake: CMYK (R&S)
Old school techno label R&S gets aboard the dubstep bandwagon, but they do so wisely in choosing James Blake to join their roster. It’s a smart move because it keeps the label on-trend without compromising too much; Blake’s output this year has been consistently sharp and strange, just barely relating to most of what gets the dubstep tag lately. If anything these tracks are Blake’s most complete foray into weird future R&B, full of vocoders and other manipulated voices, samples and what not. I really dig the strange organ soul of “Footnotes” and “I’ll Stay,” both of which have strange cut-up vocal patterns and references to R&B soul. The title cut is really fantastic, though, and by far my favorite of the bunch. It kicks into a higher gear than the rest of these tracks, with a really swelling, full sound by the time it gets going. This is really exciting stuff!