Thursday, 30 September 2010

Klavierwerke EP // James Blake // (r&s)

There's an obscure argument for the existence for god that says that while an almighty being creating the universe is impressive, an almighty being who has some hindrance to his creative ability yet nevertheless manages to create the universe means that is even more impressive. Therefore (apparently) it follows that the most impressive thing of all would be for the supreme being to have the hindrance of not existing and still being able to create the universe, QED god exists. Of course the argument in this case is ridiculous, but in the unique case of James Blake the logic somehow holds. That is, the less actual sound he puts on a record, perversely the better the music is. Soon he will cover John Cage's 4:33 and it will be the best thing in the world.

So Kalvierwerke exists as disparate sounds spread thinly over a skeleton of silence, each piano arpeggio, each mournful sigh of Blakes' own voice painstakingly timed with expert precision. In the eponymous opening track, simple club throb accompanies the mix; distant and subdued like it is coming through the wall of an cold apartment at 2 in the morning. The vocal murmurs, and the empty instrumentation conspire to create an ethereal yet deeply emotional overtones. Any influence from dubstep seems ridiculous: this music exists in its own vacuum separate from the present; it takes as much inspiration from classical music, which is where the name originates too.

I Only Know (What I Know Now) is the best track on the EP, but all the tracks are similarly simple and imbued with paralysing loneliness. All these words seem to fail to describe something so beautifully pure and isolated, words are too verbose, ambiguous, crude to express the minutiae of the details of this exceptional release.

It can be heard on Spotify now: