Since he first emerged with his breakthrough self-titled debut LP in 2011, James Blake has been seen as one of the more distinctive and innovative producers working the scene. With his sophomore offering 'Overgrown' rewarded with a Mercury Prize win, he has spent the last decade branching his sound out from his ethereal roots, largely collaborating with renowned hip-hop artists in order to break new and fascinating ground. But now it seems he is heading back to his origins as he delivers his sixth studio album 'Playing Robots Into Heaven', a record that takes us back to those formative years.
While his musical evolution in recent years has been a varied one, it has still managed to cement him as one of the most creative and adventurous names in his field. So choosing to venture back to those sombre and emotive beginnings does come as an interesting move. But regardless of this revived direction of his, 'Playing Robots Into Heaven' is still a strong and confident return for the artist. Whether he missed his former self or simply wasn't feeling his recent path, this atmospheric texture he has always been able to conjure still makes for fantastic listening.
An almost flash back to his past throughout, 'Playing Robots Into Heaven' seems to spark a revived James Blake at the helm. One that feels that now is the time to bring back those almost forgotten aesthetics, and reinvent them for modern times. Surprising but still wildly enjoyable.