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Blake’s “Limit to Your Love on 10″ Will Push Your System to its Low End Limit

September 25, 2012 , , , , , ,

I’ve been meaning to write this review for a long time.  I covered James Blake’s self-titled album for Positive Feedback last year (link HERE) and it was a sincere pleasure hearing something that fresh.  It’s sparse, darkly tinted soundscapes are wide-open and airy.  Blake’s vocals are so unique, the timbre of his voice is unike any I’ve heard.  What a precious thing, finding an artist that sounds new!  It was also difficult to quantify his album.  That was part of its mystique.  Many called it dubstep, some drum-n-bass, some refused to try and encapsulate it.  I sometimes think of the full album as our generations electronic Donny Hathaway.  Now, before you get all Hathaway-devotee on my ass, know that I’m not trying to compare Blake’s songwriting and performing abilities to the pure genuis that was Donny Hathaway.  I just found great similarity in their use of space to convey emotion, and minimalism in composition, which lends itself to contemplative listening.  I can picture them performing together in an experimental album if Hathaway were still around and able to perform.  What a pairing that would be.

The coolest thing about the vinyl here: The 10″ one-sided single of Blake’s “Limit to Your Love” on Atlas, is the fact that all those liquid-like acid basslines and spacial qualities that made the album so haunting and engaging just pop with greater velocity and fluidity.  The oscillating Roland TB-303 bassline (at least I’ve read that’s the analog synth that was used to create it) just oozes through the speakers like a rippling sonic waveform.  The piano also comes to the front, and while there are only a few notes here, the roundness and weight of their sound packs a deeper emotional punch than on the CD.  Blake’s vocals are also a bit more nasally, as I try to invent words to describe the twisted timbre of his delivery.  It’s a voice you won’t soon forget.

This 10″ is an eargasm, pure and simple.  I wish I could afford to buy 50 of them and give them out for the holidays to my fellow analog-loving friends.  This is going to stay on my audio acid test list for a long time.  I get just as excited when I hear this track on vinyl as I did when I first heard the album on CD.  It’s chilling and warm at times; spacious and cold.  Be warned however: The bass on this disc will test the very foundation of your system’s low-end capabilities.  If your system is tuned-up properly you’re in for a warbling, bending, ocean of low-end information.  Blake’s carved out a little sonic niche for himself.  I hope to continue to hear alot more from him over the years.  If he sticks to this path I can’t wait to hear the wild tunes he’ll be composing in twenty years.

By: Michael Mercer

**I have to state for the record (not that you give a shit) that I do not discriminate when it comes to formats, as stated in my previous article on Classic Records re-master of Peter Gabriel’s Scratch My Back**  However, we are all analog beings so, ultimately, how could I not admit to preferring vinyl when it comes right done to it?

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Reblogged this on Audio Porn and commented:

My review of James Blake’s “Limit to Your Love” on 10″…

hifimercer

September 27, 2012

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