James Blake is no stranger to eschewing expectations, moving from forward-thinking post-dubstep producer to more recent major-label backed successes that layer his enigmatic compositions with his surprisingly soulful croons. James’ strengths are many, but all remain firmly grounded by his ability to command emotion, rhythm, and melody in a way that feels very much his own. Straight to the heart, through a brilliantly cracked lens.
I have a soft spot for those who get a taste of success and continue to keep things jarring and new. And “200 Press” does just that. For this new tasty bit of filth, James affixes samples from an obscure Andre 3000 feature spot and Three Six Mafia’s “Late Nite Tip” to a clang of interlocked percussive rattles, sparse synth stabs, caterwauling vocal clips, and rumbling low-end. This slow burning sway builds into a claustrophobic climax before plunging back into the cold rhythmic refrain.
While James could be poised for serious crossover success on his next effort, his consistent left field bent is still obviously a central component to his works— a brief perusal of recent Harmonimix edits will provide additional confirmation of this fact. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier about that.