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What Does James Blake Have In Store for 2016?

James Blake has kept relatively quite since the end of 2013, a year which saw the release of his sophomore LP “Overgrown”. In early 2015 the dubstep producer gone northern soul crooner announced his 3rd LP titled “Radio Silence”, possibly in reference to his role as BBC 1 radio host, a job that has kept him busy for the last 2 years. Since then fans have been kept mostly in the dark regarding work on the album. What can we expect from Radio Silence? Details on the record are sparse, but based on what little information we have and the tracks Blake has performed since the albums announcement suggests that the record will combine Blake’s growing songwriting abilities he explored on Overgrown with the experimental structures of his first album. Here’s what we know:

Kanye West and Justin Vernon Will Feature

Rumors of a Kanye West x James Blake collaboration have been floating around since Ye declared Blake his favorite artist back in 2013. Fan speculation was proven to be true in July of 2015 when Blake confirmed that he and Kanye were working in the studio together. Also confirmed to be contributing to the album was Justin Vernon, who collaborated with Blake on the 2011 track “Fall Creek Boys Choir”.

Two of the tracks on the album are titled: “Radio Silence” and “Modern Soul”

During his 2015 touring schedule, Blake performed two new songs. One in particular is all but confirmed to be the title track on Radio Silence. The initial performance of the album’s title track made waves across independent music sites. The track begins with the line “I can’t believe you don’t want to see me,” which loops throughout most of the track. Blake builds further vocal lines on top off this loop. Each line pushing the track forward until the beat finally drops, transforming the the track from digital R&B slow jam into a four to the floor club jam.

Back in February, Kanye West played a new James Blake track during the Life of Pablo debut at Madison Square Garden. Blake debut this same track, titled “Modern Soul”, on his BBC Radio 1 program later that day. “Modern Soul” sees Blake returning to the off-kilter and glitchy beats that defined his self-titled debut. Based around a dramatic piano loop, Blake stretches his blue-eyed soul vocals to their limits all over this track. The juxtaposition of artificial piano next to soaring vocal lines is striking. If “Modern Soul”and the albums title track are any indicator, Radio Silence is shaping up to be one hell of a record. 

During the same broadcast Blake announced that “Modern Soul” was the first finished track off the new record. Meaning the possibility of the album seeing a 2016 release is still up in the air. For the listeners sake let’s hope James Blake breaks his Radio Silence sooner rather than later.


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