Monday, 13 June 2011

james blake @ oran mor, 2nd june

Here's a wee live review written for the skinny...

Unluck opens tonight’s headline set with such bold, crisp precision it instantly silences the room. The same courtesy wasn’t extended to touring support Cloud Boat (**) earlier in the evening, the crowd’s chatty disinterest likely a combination of unfamiliarity (the duo are yet to press their first wax); flat and quiet sound; and a lack of diversity, with every song built to roughly the same spec.

No such hurdles beset James Blake: any fans lost by his album’s stylistic about-face have been replaced several times over; the volume’s been whacked up a couple of notches at least; while his aesthetic range mocks any lingering attempts to fix him exclusively to dubstep’s canon. He’s Autotuney and the Johnsons on Give Me My Month’s simple piano ballad; a male Deradoorian when looping Never Learned to Share’s poignant refrain on multiple vocal registers; and a cyber-soul Bon Iver on Lindisfarne’s austere highlight. His heartfelt sci-fi gospel (Blake’s Heaven?) clicks and pulses beautifully throughout, culminating in Limit To Your Love (superior in its bassy live rendering than on record) and The Wilhelm Scream’s immersive synth wash. If a (second?) backlash is due, count me out.

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