Year in Review: James Blake debuts with a different kind of dubstep

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Jonathan Coker

British crooner James Blake caused a quiet riot with his self-titled debut LP. Introducing a more mindful form of dubstep, Blake soulfully laments over 11 tracks that ebb and flow like one hazy dream narrative. Piano keys flicker around beats so scattered they seem schizophrenic. And all the while, Blake’s voice shines like the light at the end of the tunnel, leading you to safety. You believe every note, every shimmering synth, every crackling bass line.

    It’s hard to find an artist this year as well aware of his surrounding sounds as Blake. But even with this pious display of control, the way his voice trickles off into barely-there uncertainty at the end of a phrase makes his electronic prowess much more human.

    James Blake’s debut is a living, breathing organism. Under a fog of refined synths and calculated rhythms thrives an album full of heart. His brand of bedroom dubstep won’t be played at any frat parties, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dynamic.