[15 January 2012]
James Blake’s eponymous debut wouldn’t have disabused you of the notion that beatlessness meant formlessness or, worse, spinelessness, for the arty dubstep producer – if you never bothered to give it much of a chance, anyway. But a form and a spine he indeed has, and the beats on his latest EP, Love What Happened Here, set out to prove that. Back are the chopped up voices of his earlier EPs, somehow no less moving than the bare-bones crooning of James Blake. The title, and best, track, plays like Sly Stone covering Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite on a drug-addled deadline. “At Birth” shows what Blake can do with modern house, and “Curbside” is a grimy reminder of what used to be exciting about Tricky. The former is the weakest link, yet its limber warmth bridges the bittersweet intro to the sinister finale quite nicely, making this yet another succinct, captivating statement from Blake.