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James Blake - Overgrown (Deluxe Edition): A Masterpiece of Electronic Soul
James Blake is one of the most innovative and influential artists in the contemporary music scene. His second album, Overgrown (Deluxe Edition), released in 2013, showcases his unique blend of dubstep, R&B, gospel, and folk influences. The album received critical acclaim and won the Mercury Prize for the best British album of the year.
In this article, we will explore the highlights of Overgrown (Deluxe Edition), the production and collaboration behind it, and why it is a must-listen for fans of electronic soul music.
The Highlights of Overgrown (Deluxe Edition)
Overgrown (Deluxe Edition) consists of 11 tracks that span a range of emotions, styles, and textures. The album opens with the title track, a haunting piano ballad that sets the tone for Blake's introspective and melancholic lyrics. The song features a sample of a children's choir singing "Unluck", a track from Blake's debut album.
The album then shifts gears with "I Am Sold", a glitchy and minimalist track that showcases Blake's vocal range and falsetto. The song builds up to a climax of distorted bass and chopped-up vocals that create a sense of urgency and tension.
One of the most surprising and exciting tracks on the album is "Take a Fall For Me", which features a guest appearance by legendary rapper RZA from Wu-Tang Clan. The song is a fusion of hip-hop and electronic soul, with RZA delivering witty and poetic verses over Blake's atmospheric beats and backing vocals. The song also samples a British TV show called Only Fools and Horses, adding a touch of humor and irony to the lyrics.
The lead single from the album, "Retrograde", is one of Blake's most popular and acclaimed songs. The song is a stunning example of Blake's ability to combine soulful vocals, catchy melodies, and powerful bass lines. The song starts with a simple synth loop and Blake's crooning voice, then explodes into a chorus of soaring vocals and sub-bass that shakes the listener to the core.
The album also features some experimental and ambient tracks, such as "Dlm", "Digital Lion", and "Voyeur". These tracks showcase Blake's influence from artists like Brian Eno, who collaborated with him on "Digital Lion". These tracks create a contrast between the more conventional songs on the album and add to its diversity and richness.
The album closes with "Our Love Comes Back", a tender and hopeful piano ballad that reflects on Blake's relationship with his girlfriend. The song is a fitting end to an album that explores themes of love, loss, growth, and redemption.
The Production and Collaboration Behind Overgrown (Deluxe Edition)
Overgrown (Deluxe Edition) was recorded in various locations, including London, Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville. Blake produced most of the album himself, using his signature techniques of sampling, looping, pitch-shifting, and manipulating sounds. He also played various instruments on the album, such as piano, guitar, drums, synthesizers, and organ.
Blake also collaborated with some notable artists on the album, such as RZA on "Take a Fall For Me", Brian Eno on "Digital Lion", Rob McAndrews on "To The Last", Justin Vernon on "Fall Creek Boys Choir" (a bonus track), and Chance The Rapper on "Life Round Here" (a remix). These collaborations added new dimensions and perspectives to Blake's music, while still maintaining his artistic vision and identity.
Overgrown (Deluxe Edition) was released on April 8th, 2013 by Republic Records. The album received widespread praise from critics and fans alike, who praised its originality, emotionality, and sophistication. The album debuted at number eight on the UK Albums Chart and number 32 on the US Billboard 200. It also won the Mercury Prize for the best British album of 2013, beating out albums by David Bowie , Arctic Monkeys , Disclosure , Laura M 248dff8e21