James Blake – Retrograde (live on KEXP)


Today, while browsing through the vast offerings of Youtube, I came across the music video for James Blake’s recent collaboration with Chance the Rapper on the track Life Round Here. I was immediately reminded of a two things: 1. Of James Blake’s spectacular performance on Live on KEXP, recorded in April of 2013, and 2. How cool of a job Cheryl Waters, host of Live on KEXP, has. She basically gets to sit three feet away from incredible artists like Blake and watch them perform a short collection of their best songs. Ms. Waters, if you are reading this, I would trade anything to have your job. Except for my cattle. Do not even think about going near my cattle.

James Blake has one of those voices that really creeps up on you. In fact, he reminds me somewhat of Eric Burdon from the The Animals, and not just because he is British. They both have this unexpected vocal ability that will go from soft to powerful, seemingly without much effort on their part. Using his voice like the instrument that it is, he loops it over itself and brings the song to places you could never have imagined. And his minimal productions are perfectly suited to accompany a voice of his calibre.

The song Retrograde is from his most recent album Overgrown, which really expands on the sounds that he put forward on his self-titled debut album from 2011. After watching this snippet of his KEXP performance, there is a high chance you may feel like watching the rest of it, which you can get here, and which features a short interview with the artist himself. Here is yet another talented singer to emerge from the UK, with easily one of the best voices out there right now.


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