Moving forwards: James Blake’s return to club music is focused on the future – Features

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The past bends at the will of nostalgia, and after the release of ‘Big Hammer’, Blake has had a lot of time to think about it – fans playfully bicker in the comments over whether the track’s cracking 808 snares and odd rhythms hark back to the wobbly, excitable electronics of his early EPs or step forward from recent tracks like the ruminative ‘Hummingbird’ – which recently featured on the soundtrack of the latest Spider-Verse film. It’s hard to know whether this is a ‘full-circle’ moment for the artist — he doesn’t seem to think so.

“The way I see it, the emotions that people attach [is] the context that those tracks came out in. For example, ‘Air & Lack Thereof’ / Sparing the Horses’ through to ‘CMYK’… The entire society was different, the entirety of the world was different – their lives were different,” Blake says, as I ask him whether he feels any pressure or connection to those who long for a return of his older sound.

Read this next: James Blake: “People couldn’t care less if you’re mysterious now”

“The tragedy of attachment to music is that we can never go back and feel the same things again… [tracks] become sort of time capsules for how we felt then and the euphoric moments we had, despite what was going on around us… I like to see those things as a positive thing, not a thing to long for. I like to think of them as a beautiful memory rather than something that I need to strive to recreate. Because you can never recreate that.”

So, ‘Playing Robots Into Heaven’, Blake’s upcoming album, isn’t an attempt at recreating the sound that gained the musician such a devoted fan base of dubstep lovers – but is a project that sees Blake stepping forward into the contemporary club space with a statement of his own.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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