Mercury Prize and Grammy Award-winning James Blake has today released his new EP, Before. James joined Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1 today to premiere the title track as ‘Hottest Record In The World’, and has also confirmed details of an exclusive Boiler Room DJ set on October 16th. His first appearance here since 2013, tune in on Friday at 10PM BST via boilerroom.tv, YouTube or jamesblakemusic.com.
Paying homage to his London club days, Before sees Blake returns to his roots whilst showcasing the evolution of his music. For James, the EP is the expression of “a yearning for dancefloor elation”, a reminder that he has continued to be a DJ and continued to be plugged into underground club culture all this time, but also a statement of “finally having confidence to put my own voice on dancefloor rhythms”. Directed by Ryder Ripps, each accompanying visualizer reflects this sentiment.
Over the last decade, James Blake has emerged as pop’s most celebrated outlier. He introduced a singular sound on 2011’s James Blake, which was crowned one of “Top 100 Albums of the Decade So Far (2010-2014)” by Pitchfork. 2013’s Overgrown illustrated that rare ability to align the likes of Brian Eno and RZA on the same project, and was awarded the 2013 Mercury Prize. After 2016’s The Colour In Anything, Blake reached new critical and commercial peaks with Assume Form: his highest charting Billboard entry, the record has clocked over 600 million streams to date and saw James land a further Grammy nomination. Amidst all this, Blake still oversees 1-800 Dinosaur, which spans a club night, record label, and radio show.
WATCH BEFORE VISUALIZERS
1. I Keep Calling
2. Before (Official Quarantine Video)
3. Do You Ever?
4. Summer Of Now
A singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, James Blake also unassumingly operates as the engine behind some of the most influential albums of the 21st century. He produced choice cuts on Frank Ocean’s Blonde and Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. as well as JAY-Z’s 4:44 and Beyoncé’s Lemonade—to which he also lent his voice in both cases. Feature appearances span ‘Stop Trying to Be God’ with Stevie Wonder and Kid Cudi on Travis Scott’s epic ASTROWORLD and ‘King’s Dead’ with Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, and Future from the chart-dominating Black Panther: The Album. The latter not only went triple-platinum, but it also earned Blake his first Grammy Award in the category of “Best Rap Performance.”
Before follows the release of James Blake’s widely popular cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Godspeed’, which generated over 5 million views on TikTok (as well as a brand new song, ‘Are You Even Real?’, released under lockdown). And as he prepares his fifth album, James Blake’s shadow over popular music only continues to grow.