Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Night with James Blake

I promised myself I wouldn't listen to any more James Blake until Autumn, but because I have no self-control and I have about four articles due by the end of the week,  what do I do? I listen and now I can't get any work done until I write about it.
The other night I was making playlists for some of my clients, and as I was going through all of my music, I stumbled upon "Life Round Here" by James Blake and I don't know if it was the time of night, weather, or mood I was in, but it struck a chord in my soul and I completely forgot what work I was doing and my night all of a sudden became entirely dedicated to listening to James Blake. And I visited his album Overgrown. And then I visited it after it ended, and revisited again until I found that I had listened to that album four times in a row. I went back and listened to his self titled album to try to understand how he was with his music, if he was solely experimental, or just a born genius, and I came to the final conclusion that he is absolutely a musical savant. Which may or may not be public knowledge, but either way, I found myself up until about 3 am crying over his music because it had hit me so deeply, and I ended up googling every live show I could find and trying to understand HOW the hell it was possible to make the sound he made with his music. But as I listened to "Retrograde" in and out and over and over again, I decided there wasn't really a literal explanation for his music. It just is. "Retrograde" is a track that is so unbelievably brooding, so deep, so intense that I couldn't for a moment be interrupted while it played. I couldn't even see or hear anything else. I couldn't focus on anything beside the song playing in my head at that exact moment. I was broken out in chills all over my body, I felt my soul lift out of my body, and as dramatic as this may sound, I feel as though I had an outer body experience. But when I came back, I fell in love with James Blake. But not like the kind of "but I love him, he's so cute" kind of love, the "holy shit I need to be surrounded with anything and everything James Blake because possibly through internet osmosis I can learn from him." I can't imagine how his mind works, how he has the ability to sing with his instruments, his voice, his pitch, even his damn lyrics, everything so entirely tied together in this brilliant package of sound. This magnetic pull he had on my heart has only been done with single tracks, but with James Blake, it was every. single. song. he produced. Present tense. Still to this second, he pulls something out of me that is so deep inside of me that I don't even know what it is. God, every single chord progression, every single sound his voice makes, it's all an extension of his head. This shit can't be written out. It's like music is a third arm, a part of his natural being, it's not tried or attempted. It's done. It's perfection in sound. It's art. It's soul. It's dark, it's light and it's ethereal. He's ethereal.
I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be alone with him. Seriously alone. I feel like I hear a heartbeat in every beat of his song, so maybe being with someone who can produce that would be a similar sound. Or maybe I would just be entirely disappointed and he sucks. 
Either way, his music tortures me. In the best way possible. And I think that's the only way to describe it, other than the essay I just wrote.. But it's beautifully torturing. I hear it forever after I listen. 
And I can not f'ing wait to listen to his music in October, when it's cold, the leaves are blowing across the streets, the skies are dead grey, no ones around, and I can stare into Milligan Place and live inside my head for a bit. 

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