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James Blake – Playing Robots Into Heaven

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James Blake – Playing Robots Into Heaven

by Oliver on December 2, 2023 in Album

James Blake does the balancing act between looking back to his dubstep roots on the one hand, and the consistent continuation since then Assume Form established opening into accessible pop and trendy hip hop on the other hand. And then opens up Playing Robots Into Heaven but above all new horizons.

Wherever I go / I’m only as good as my mind / Which is only good if you’re mine.“ sings Blake, once again putting on a pedestal the romantic joy of following his heart pulsating with love and moving to sunny California with Jameela Jamil (who, by the way, is also listed as co-producer of the best, quietest songs on the record). to be. Playing Robots Into Heaven At least at the beginning, this fundamentally sets the path from Assume Form (2019) and Friends That Break Your Heart (2021) continues, no, it bundles and even brings this development to a head.
In that the feelings of happiness and joy of life that Blake has developed over the past few years are now articulated through a primary physicality in dance, the vocals in an IDM movement transcend as a secondary stylistic device to the end: Asking to Break Maintains a gently flowing beat in minimalism, the delicately pitched voice lies melancholically over it; Loading pushes the pumping club with kid gloves and Tell Me screws on Sandstorm past onto the dance floor, a few diffuse piano lullaby deliriums appear as contrasts in slow motion, and Fall Back thumping clacking where moving hips are a universal language.

Blake acts here primarily as a producer and sound tinkerer. But while one still expects that he will now unpack his celebrity rollodex based on this foundation and Playing Robots Into Heaven into a playground for his US superstar buddies, the Brit suddenly turns his sixth studio album inside out without any real break and suddenly works more electronically, abstractly and experimentally than in any other phase since his self-titled debut in 2011.
This was sampled by Pastor TL Barrett He’s Been Wonderful The directness of the record begins to dissolve in a subcutaneously vibrating jumble of rhythms, the Mindfuck single Big Hammer sounds even further out like the trap-trance remix, more distant The Ragga Twins-Reggae vibes as fidgeting noir futurism and leaves Playing Robots Into Heaven finally fraying.

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I Want You to Know is, on the other hand, a memory of an old school Blake Burial-Mode that flirts with pitched madness exactly where the visionary who looked into the future ten years ago is now the embracing nostalgic, and Night Sky a microscopically chiselled tinkering that practices enough soulful euphony to avoid drifting into the cerebral clusterfuck of emotionlessness – but into an ambient fog. There the wobbling sound cosmos meditates Fire the Editor as enchanting intimacy, the contemplative melodies penetrate the heart, meanwhile If You Can Hear Me the poignant piano ballad is outlined as a tribute to his own father, and the title track flatters as a reduced loop of soothing avant-garde.
In the end, despite a certain heterogeneity, there is a relatively homogeneous, coherent overall work, which perhaps contains less immediately touching, disturbing or poignant scenes (or rather: round ones Songs as such) than Blake has otherwise created on almost all of his albums, but assimilates a paradigm shift that promises to keep the 35-year-old’s output at a constant level of excitement – and things more exciting (especially for the musician himself). to do better than they possibly were last time.

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