James Blake
Enough Thunder


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ryan Fitz USER (32 Reviews)
October 13th, 2011 | 20 replies | 3,100 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: James Blake continues to inspire...

2 of 3 thought this review was well written

Whether the title of James’s Blake’s most recent E.P “Enough Thunder” is an indictment against the over-the-top nature of the dubstep genre, or rather a personal lament is up to anyone’s whim. But whether James Blake meant it or not, it’s a fitting interpretation. James Blake’s dubstep stands in contrast to the majority of the genre. It’s quiet, reclusive, composed. It has a minimalistic flair, which is dangerously, and yet peacefully, abrasive. Sure the deep beats, and the common use of auto-tune make his songs cold, distant affairs, but yet, they are oddly personal things, filled with emotional weight as well as graceful sorrow. It sounds as if he’s playing in your bedroom, and yet it feels like he’s a million miles away. It’s dubstep built on a paradox, and simply put, if you blasted it at a party…everyone would leave.

Yet even from one of the most left field pioneers of the genre, “Enough Thunder” is some of the queerest dubstep the genre has ever seen, and not for it’s oddball tendencies, or defiant minimalism, and yes, it features both of those. Rather, because, it’s hardly dubstep at all. And for an artist that the music media has practically slobbered over as the savior of electronica, that’s quite a daring move. The refined beats he’s become so famous for are now in a backstage role, letting calculated atmosphere, and James Blake’s chilling piano take center stage. Oddly enough, or perhaps not at all, his music prospers from it. The Joni Mitchell cover “A Case Of You” is poignantly serene, featuring only piano and a soft ambience. In the opening song “Once We All Agree”, that very same ambience becomes an electronic whir, inciting a narcotic paranoia. As it turns out, James Blake’s metamorphosis into an atmospheric songwriter is not so much an identity crisis as much as it is a calculated gender change. And it’s much welcomed, James Blake has never seemed so confident.

When electronics do appear, they are more experimental then ever. “Fall Creek Boys Choir” a collaboration between James Blake and Bon Iver, would seem to be enough to make the Hipster in everyone explode in exuberant happiness, but that would be before they heard the song. It’s by far the weirdest song produced this year, featuring a dog repetitively woofing in the background, electronically produced owl noises, and enough auto-tune to make Lil Wayne jealous. It should be a disaster, yet even if it is, it’s a highly successful one, carried by Justin Vernon’s vocals, which fit perfectly in the context of the E.P. Better outings include, “We Might Feel Unsound”, and “Not Long Now” which take James Blake’s already well established muted dubstep and explores new uncharted territories into increased gospel flair and fragile mystique.

In the end, “Enough Thunder” is a boisterous statement, told in a quiet and unassuming whisper. It’s cold, yet warm. It’s distant, yet close. It’s boldly experimental, yet casually comfortable. It’s dubstep, but only in the remotest sense. As should come as no surprise as anyone, like the rest of James Blake’s music, “Enough Thunder” is a paradox. And the fact that this paradox is one of the most intriguing pieces of music of the year, well, that should be of no surprise to anyone as well.



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user ratings (191)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
ednights (2.5)
Disappointing....

Sean Milo (4)
After drinking a case of critical success, James Blake is still on his feet....

Deviant STAFF (4)
Still neither here nor there, James Blake is in his element -- on his own...


Comments:Add a Comment 
letsgofishing
October 13th 2011



901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hi, long time no see.



plane
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2011



6093 Comments


As it turns out, James Blake’s metamorphosis into an atmospheric songwriter is not so much an identity crisis as much as it is a calculated gender change.

This is either the best Freudian slip of the day or a great argument.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2011



16134 Comments


lmao

garth
October 13th 2011



91 Comments


It's not a dog barking on Fall Creek Boys Choir, its some weird instrument.

letsgofishing
October 13th 2011



901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nope, it's an actual dog. James bought him as a puppy, fed him, nurtured him. Taught him the exact tone for the bark. Recorded him. Now James is touring with him. He's going to be sitting in the back of the stage barking his ass off...But only on that song of course, and you have no idea how long it took to teach that dog song recognition.


Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2011



31085 Comments


Use of the word electronica means insta neg

Digging: Banks - Goddess

letsgofishing
October 13th 2011



901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry Deviant. kind of noobish in this genre...and you're obviously not. Tell me the issue, and I will fix

=D

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 13th 2011



31085 Comments


I wasn't being serious at all, but just say electronic music. It means the same thing

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2011



31085 Comments


Just re-reading the review again and I gotta say, for someone who has just claimed to being relatively uninformed of the genre you make more than a few sweeping statements about it

letsgofishing
October 14th 2011



901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I find that a lot of times in writing, especially in reviewing, it's not how well you are the expert, but how well you
can pull of being the expert. Hopefully the statements were on point enough where you would of accepted it if I
didn't say anything afterwards.

Besides, in my defense, I've been listening to electronic music for a little under a year now, but I have rarely
written on it. Obviously, while I do have a little more than basic familiarity with the genre, writing about it is a whole
other matter. That was more what I was referring to.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2011



31085 Comments


You don't have to be an expert to be able to talk about a genre, but more than just a passing knowledge does help. I just see a lot of sweeping generalizations here that I have problems with

indictment against the over-the-top nature of the dubstep genre,


90% of the genre isn't over the top at all. You're obviously making a comparison to the whole "filthy bass drop" side of things, but within the bigger picture it's still only a small contingent

James Blake’s dubstep stands in contrast to the majority of the genre. It’s quiet, reclusive, composed. It has a minimalistic flair, which is dangerously, and yet peacefully, abrasive.


The 2nd and 3rd sentences are a perfect summation of the genre, so it contradicts the first sentence here

Rather, because, it’s hardly dubstep at all.


Compared to the uber bass whomp of the American scene (and a small portion of the English scene) then yes, but for the most part, no it is dubstep. A variation on it but still quintessentially dubstep

And for an artist that the music media has practically slobbered over as the savior of electronica, that’s quite a daring move.


If this is the case, why is it so daring that it's apparently not dubstep? How would that be an issue?

twlichty
October 14th 2011



3407 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

album does not sound like dubstep at all, sounds like experimental electronica

twlichty
October 14th 2011



3407 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

really fucking bad electronica

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 14th 2011



31085 Comments


Shut up Twlichty

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 14th 2011



23806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^^^^

twlichty
October 14th 2011



3407 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sorry i was pretty hammered last night and listened to this album/ saw how much people are loving it and decided to talk some shit

lancebramsay
October 24th 2011



1585 Comments


I would make the assumption that Mr. Fitz is basing the genre of dubstep off what is commonly referred to as dubstep within the states here (see filthy bass drop).

I'm loving the casual conversational tone of your reviews; really makes it a breeze to read them.

POS

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2011



31085 Comments


Well seeing as how that's a false assumption

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2011



7023 Comments


As it turns out, James Blake’s metamorphosis into an atmospheric songwriter is not so much an identity crisis as much as it is a calculated gender change.

This is amazing. Pos'd just for this line.

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2011



31085 Comments


For he is now a woman



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