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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/db755fd9e2c84c92fcf323f6d61516051556f0e1.jpg James Blake

James Blake

James Blake

Universal
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
21
February 8, 2011

Click to listen to James Blake's "Limit To Your Love," "Wilhelm Scream," "I Never Learnt To Share" and "I Mind"

U.K. dance music subgenres don't usually produce soulful singer-songwriters – there was no Marvin Gaye of grime, no Bill Withers of Balearic house. But in James Blake, the squish-grooved London club throb called dubstep just got its very own emotive song stylist. Blake uses neosoul keyboards, blip beats and layered snips of his heart-starved warbling to create softly roiling slow jams. Like Radiohead, Blake's sonic empty spaces highlight ­human distance: His cover of Feist's "Limit to Your Love" dangles lyrics about a dying relationship above trip-hop fizz, and when he does inch toward happiness on "Wilhelm Scream," he makes finding true love sound like entering a void. "All that I know is I'm falling," he sings over a swirl of black digitalia. Yep, falling right into the mystic.

Artist to Watch: James Blake

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