Retrograde sees James Blake make a blissful return to the fall.
On 29 September 2010, Zane Lowe selectedBlake’scover version of “Limit to Your Love” as hisHottestRecord in theWorld. Now in 2013 James Blake brings us “Retrograde” and yet again is selected by Mr Lowe as the Hottest Record in the World, on first listen it’s easy to see why.
Retrograde is an understated track with harmonies and vocals that send shivers down the spine. Blake’s hum provides the lick with a minimalist beat and driving chords it is a melancholic masterpiece and in this writer’s opinion his finest work to date.
His debut album was generally received well but had some scratching their heads. Thanks to the stunning ‘Limit to Your Love’ there was a weight of expectation on the album that for some wasn’t met. He was cited as the Prince of Dubstep and undoubtedly a few got the wrong end of the stick. He has talked about his dislike of the way the genre is heading:
“I think the dubstep that has come over to the US, and certain producers– who I can’t even be bothered naming– have definitely hit upon a sort of frat-boy market where there’s this macho-ism being reflected in the sounds and the way the music makes you feel. And to me, that is a million miles away from where dubstep started. It’s a million miles away from the ethos of it. It’s been influenced so much by electro and rave, into who can make the dirtiest, filthiest bass sound, almost like a pissing competition, and that’s not really necessary. And I just think that largely that is not going to appeal to women. I find that whole side of things to be pretty frustrating, because that is a direct misrepresentation of the sound as far as I’m concerned.”
Retrograde most defiantly is not a track for the Frat-boy market and harks back to the deep bass that Blake fell in love with growing up as a teenager.
His follow up album ‘Overgrown’ is out on the 8th of April and if ‘Retrograde’ is anything to go by, we are in for a deep dark treat.