Next week, after a summer of heavy international touring and sell-out shows, worldwide acclaim for his third album and plaudits from a constellation of A-list musical stars, the Goldsmiths graduate will do just that.
He’ll return to the capital to play two eagerly awaited high-profile home-town shows, his first here since headlining at Victoria Park’s Field Day festival in June.
(The talent was booked by Lauren Driscoll in the museum’s Special Events department.) Even though the headlining set for this one was a decidedly chill solo piano performance from James Blake, his performance was sandwiched by thumping DJ sets from Klaus (aka 1-800-Dinosaur) and Kaytranda — which made for an evening that was both raucous and classy — and really fun.
The Parties in the Garden are usually heavy on well-dressed young people and light on the usual music industry suspects, but this one was different: along with Andre/a, luminaries in the house included Columbia Recording artists Leon Bridges — sporting a sharp suit with a black-and-white swirl-patterned shirt — and Muna, accompanied by several management and label peeps; Stephen Bruner a.k.a.
Having been released on the imprint record label, Hemlock, the extended-play became a favourite of BBC Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson. On 29 September 2010, Zane Lowe selected Blake's cover version of "Limit to Your Love" as his "Hottest Record in the World".
The song was written and originally recorded by Feist and appeared on her studio album, The Reminder.
As I waited for James Blake to come on stage at his show last week at Webster Hall, more than one person made the joke that he was backstage crying. Playing music for no reason at all, as in not to record or to fulfill a record contract—not organized fun, but a jam session or something, which I don’t do enough, and I’m starting to do more. When you’re playing music for no reason, do you think the music you play would surprise people? This is all me." I was worried that anyone could fuck me over.
This is probably what a lot of people think of when they think of James Blake: a brilliant but tortured sad-sack who cries his music into existence. Yes, I think there’s a spontaneity, because when you’re making records, you feel like it’s going to be under scrutiny at some point. I think a lot of it comes from the fact that when I was first starting out, I was a little bit nervous. Or that people would take my words and misconstrue them. I was 21, and suddenly I’m being interviewed, and people think I have a lot more to say than I do. I think because when I was starting to do this record, I was like, “Who would work on this track?Blake’s hypnotic sound is all glitchy beats, skeletal electronics, rippling piano parts and often distorted vocals.He won the Mercury Prize in 2013 for his second album, Overgrown, and ever since has been fêted by the best and brightest of the global music scene — from Kanye West to Bon Iver, Madonna and Beyoncé, whom he worked with on her latest album, Lemonade.While at school, Blake and friends hosted a series of "Bass Society" music nights that featured UK artists such as Distance, Skream and Benga.Blake began his music career by releasing his debut 12" record, entitled "Air & Lack Thereof" in the United Kingdom during July 2009, while being persistent in recording songs in his bedroom.The new album is still lacquered with feelings and borderline weeps; hell, the opening line of the album is literally "I can't believe you don't want to see me." (Which borrows from the haunting Bill Withers song "I Hope She'll Be Happier".) And he still loves a good, dark nightclub in Berlin. I play sometimes with Connan Mockasin, who’s this amazing guitarist and singer, and his records are brilliant. Somewhere like a proper techno place, like a kind of Berghain in Berlin or somewhere very dark, no cameras, no phones. So much of it was so heavy, and I guess I was definitely going though it for these first three records. Yeah, I don’t know if Frank is actually known for that either. And then when I wasn’t in that headspace, I sat there doing an interview with somebody who thinks I'm like that that, and all I want to do is like—. I tried this thing with Kanye and it didn’t work out, but he’s great. You sort of walk away feeling galvanized about something, whatever it is. I didn’t want him to read that and then—Pivoting a little bit, is it true you lived with Chance the Rapper a few years ago? The idea was to get somebody to record for a few days, a couple of weeks, and also have a place to stay.