Soft , soulful solitude
There are certain artists whose work is so distinct that it can be identified as theirs within hearing the first few beats of a song. Think Nirvana, think Carlos Santana, and now, think James Blake. With the release of his new album The Colour in Anything, James Blake has cemented his signature sound in our collective consciousness. “Radio Silence,” originally slated to be the title track of the new album, is a prime example of Blake’s subdued, lonesome, foggily crisp sound. The acclaimed producer and songwriter begins the track by painting an auditory scene of someone gazing into the mist sweeping over a country field on a cold fall morning: thick, muted piano chords on top of high-pitched humming, backed by simple, lethargic percussion.
Followed by the gradual addition of more electronic percussion and synths, accompanied by occasional pounds of bass, timpani and Blake’s undeniably authentic, yearning voice, “Radio Silence” grows more urgent as the minutes tick by. This track is luxuriously precise; a cavalcade of individually crafted sounds with sanded surfaces, sharpened edges, and nothing left to chance. James Blake’s lyrics are relatively simple for a reason: he lets his music do the talking for him, as a master of emulating emotion and mood with the use of sound waves. Listen to “Radio Silence” alone, sitting down, with your eyes closed to get the full effect of and to truly understand Blake’s talent. Appreciate this track as you would a piece of fine art: let your mind be an open gallery rather than a crowded magazine.