Overgrown

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
With his 2011 debut full-length, dubstep-via-fractured R&B producer James Blake delivered on the promise of his earlier singles while at the same time overhauling his sound, moving away somewhat from the sample-heavy dubstep of those tracks to a sparser atmosphere. The album focused more on Blake's equally haunted piano and vocal lines, submerged elements of implied rhythms, dubstep's subsonic bass resonance, and ghostly samples to create a picture of restraint and contained emotional upheaval. The album felt not so much like the calm before the storm, but like silently watching a hurricane slowly and soundlessly move closer from the distance. Sophomore album Overgrown ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
With his 2011 debut full-length, dubstep-via-fractured R&B producer James Blake delivered on the promise of his earlier singles while at the same time overhauling his sound, moving away somewhat from the sample-heavy dubstep of those tracks to a sparser atmosphere. The album focused more on Blake's equally haunted piano and vocal lines, submerged elements of implied rhythms, dubstep's subsonic bass resonance, and ghostly samples to create a picture of restraint and contained emotional upheaval. The album felt not so much like the calm before the storm, but like silently watching a hurricane slowly and soundlessly move closer from the distance. Sophomore album Overgrown offers a similar feeling, but Blake approaches the songs here with even more restraint and a subtly deconstructed take on pop. Subtlety is perhaps Blake's greatest attribute on Overgrown, with what could even be the album's heaviest moments blurring into a pleasantly melancholy whole through deft production choices. Take for instance "Take a Fall for Me," a partially rhythm-less track featuring Wu-Tang's RZA in an extended set of rhymes over a looping sample of static and processed backing vocals, and samples that recall Tricky's earliest work. The jagged edges of a track like this could render it awkward with more obvious production, but Blake's touch pushes even RZA's toughest verses into a rainy, lamenting place. The skeletal piano of the debut returns on tracks like "DLM" or the gorgeous album-closer "Our Love Comes Back," which has the faintest hints of Chet Baker's springtime loneliness buried in Blake's mumbling blue-eyed R&B vocals. Brian Eno even shows up to collaborate on the sputtering rhythms of "Digital Lion," perhaps the most hyperactive track here, though only in relative terms. Somewhere between the vacant echoes of dub and trip-hop, dubstep's sample-slicing production, and the contained heartbreak of a singer/songwriter playing piano to himself in an empty room, Blake has crafted Overgrown. It's understated to the point of invisibility at times, with Blake subtracting even himself from the songs, allowing the lead vocals or hooks to be consumed by the song at large. Though the stormy textures and somber reflections are pretty specific to a particular mood, Overgrown finds and fits that mood perfectly. While it might take listeners a few spins to find the right head space for the album, once they get there, it's an easy place to get lost in.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/9/2013
  • Label: Republic
  • UPC: 602537324729
  • Catalog Number: 001829902
  • Sales rank: 10,162

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Overgrown (4:59)
  2. 2 I Am Sold (4:04)
  3. 3 Life Round Here (3:37)
  4. 4 Take A Fall For Me (3:33)
  5. 5 Retrograde (3:43)
  6. 6 DLM (2:25)
  7. 7 Digital Lion (4:46)
  8. 8 Voyeur (4:17)
  9. 9 To The Last (4:19)
  10. 10 Our Love Comes Back (3:39)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
James Blake Primary Artist, Vocals, Musician
RZA Vocals
Rob McAndrew Guitar
Ben Assiter Percussion
Technical Credits
Brian Eno Composer
Matt Colton Mastering
Dan Foat Management
James Blake Composer, Producer, Engineer
Rob McAndrew Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    It¿s not a banger, but then again, when has James Blake ever pro

    It’s not a banger, but then again, when has James Blake ever produced a banger?




    For the majority of his career now, James Blake has been making expansive, dub-influenced soundscapes that usually feature his trembling tenor or the voice of someone else. Some call it “post-dubstep” and some call it “bass music.” But overall there’s one thing people seem to agree with: James Blake is a genius. Even the detractors for his first album (which are few and far between) recognize that Blake’s experimentation has changed the electronic music landscape forever. Artists from Jessie Ware to Drake have been influenced by his music and the reception shows that. According to Metacritic, there were no bad review for James Blake. The reception was overwhelmingly positive and there were only a few (7) mixed reviews. So with this kind of influence coming from a debut, how does James Blake’s sophomore LP hold up?




    Wonderfully. From the somber introduction of “Overgrown” to the mostly-dub “Digital Lion,” Blake ups the ante in almost every single way. The lyricism on this album is subtly complex. While most know Blake for his hypnotic vocal repetition, Blake sets beyond that threshold on this album, giving his lyrics more depth and volume. On “I Am Sold,” he sings “We lay nocturnal/speculate what we feel” and on “DLM” he sings passionately about a relationship growing cold with distance. For a second album, Overgrown demonstrates remarkable improvement, the kind of improvement and depth that only a few artists (namely Drake, Bonobo and Tinashe) have achieved within electronic R&B. The way that Blake both subtly and overtly infuses the dub elements of his previous EPs into this albums ballads is unparalleled in the industry at this point. I can only think of one other electronic artist who has show this kind of initiative and improvement album-to-album and that artist is the excellent Flying Lotus. On this LP, the comparisons can be taken further as each of these artists have taken influences from instrumental hip-hop and modern jazz. Songs like “To The Last” evoke comparisons to Jamie xx as it uses some of his production motifs like steel drums and R&B influenced drum beats. The soaring vocals on most of these tracks have very little autotune on them (as opposed to the first album) and are better for it. The vocals on this are evocative and beautiful, showcasing Blake to be an even better vocalist than James Blake and Enough Thunder led us to believe. The harmonies on songs like “Our Love Comes Back” are sweetly melancholy and almost magical. 




    In general, this album is almost perfect. Despite some tracks being subtly repetitious (by some I mean one, that one being “Voyeur”), the drum arrangements and moving synths give them (it) enough energy to warrant multiple listens.

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