James Blake is back. After releasing his debut album filled with electro-baby-making-music, Retrograde is the first single to the follow up album entitled “Overgrown” which is a lock for this edition of Tune Of The Week
James Blake Retrograde
Retrograde feels a lot more solid that efforts from the previous record. It still maintains the the mournful, soulful electronic sound that is James Blake, but this time it feels more centered. More defined and less experimental, but without a losing a sense of originality.
The dense, drowning synths smother Blake’s vocal in a warmth that emphasises the isolation transmitted through the vocals. “We’re alone now””
When the synths drop out, leaving the hypnotic piano to keep Blake’s wails company by itself, I could feel the sense of loss he’s putting forward. A class record.
I’m not entirely sure what it is about this song that I love so much. Is the sublime texture of the instruments? The chilled out vibe it puts out or James Blake’s phenomenal, melancholic voice. This is a slow jam for the electro kids. The Wilhelm Scream is slow and sexy baby making music for the sine wave set.
I don’t know about my friends, all that I know is that I’m falling for this track.
These are the tunes I’ve added to my crate for December 2011. Remember, these are 12″ versions, so you’ll probably need to scrub in to between 1 min and 90 seconds to get to the meat of the track. Mostly funky house with a sprinkling of deep house here and there.
After spending a night drinking wine and talking about House music with a couple of friends here in Costa Rica, one of the points discussed was how the classics keep being reinvented and reintroduced into the later works
While listening to Armand Van Helden’s 1999 House music classic “U Don’t Know Me” on the weekend, all I could hear was the drum line from JayDee’s “Plastic Dreams,” which is a favorite of my new buddy, Scott Polk. Well, that was after I got over the fact that this track had been released in 1999 and can still destroy a dance floor in 2011.
This lead me to dig a little deeper into the construction of the track and look into some of the samples used in the song.
The first sample is on the Vinyl version and not on the YouTube video below and it’s a bit of an enigma as no one’s really sure of where it’s from. Some say it’s Charlton Heston from Planet Of The Apes, but honestly I could’t stand the movie so I can’t verify this.
“What was my problem with man you ask? No, I ask you what was man’s problem with me?”
JayDee – Plastic Dreams
This track is a classic dating back to 1993 and it was MASSIVE. I mean truly massive. You don’t need to listen very hard to hear the drum line that Armand used for You Don’t Know Me. The drums give the track great energy and were the first things that attracted me to U Don’t Know Me.
Strings + Chorus bass Line
Carrie Lucas- Dance With You
I have a soft spot for disco, and this track dating back to 1979 is one that will blow the windows out of the walls if dropped on the right dance floor. The strings on U Don’t Know Me are arguably one the tracks greatest assets and this is where they originated from. Check at the 2:58 mark and you’ll hear them loud and clear. The bass line used on the chorus was also lifted from the Carrie Lucas single. Mr VH did one hell of a job phatenning up the elements, but musically not much was changed from the original.
I love looking at the way music is made, especially sampled music as it shows just how differently we as individuals hear our favorite songs. When listening at the samples used in U Don’t Know me, I think it’s pretty safe to say that no two people would have put things together the way Armand Van Helden did.
If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good cover version or a great reinterpretation. I came across this uber funky cover of Steelers Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Kinky Movement. I gets very close to being a cheesy remake, but still manages to keep it classy. If you love the original, then this one’s sure to get you drunk dancing when your friendly neighbourhood DJ drops it at 1 in the morning.