James Blake and Kwabs

I find myself reluctant to post to PaisleyTunes because I am afraid that the music I want to write about won’t be new enough. Then I was reminded by my fellow contributors that it’s not about being the first to find the music, it’s about the music and sharing your perspective. So, here goes, no more excuses.

I actually stumbled upon UK artist, James Blake, through a cover of his song The Willhelm Scream, a really good cover at that, by new artist, Kwabs. More on him below. Since James Blake has been around for a couple years, releasing his first studio album in 2011 and hitting runner-up in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll, you have probably heard of him. If not, let me sum up his style the best that I can: electronic soul-pop? Yes, that is a question because it’s very hard for me to explain his style. He is definitely an electronic musician, but his voice is so rich and soulful that it’s almost confusing at times how he successfully mixes it with the repetitive, pulsing electronic music. In both of his studio albums (Self-titled and Overgrown) ,he’s not afraid to play around with auto-tuning although he would obviously never need it. He plays classical piano in several songs and includes rapping in others. The variety within each album is impressive and surely allows for at least one song to be enjoyed by any listener. Case and point, I am typically not a huge fan of electronic music, and I find myself coming back to his albums often on quiet, rainy days, and I could see several of his songs being used in a steamy movie scene. He also covers one of my favorite Feist songs, Limit to Your Love, in a delightfully and dizzyingly repetitive and spaced rendition that gives a whole new feel.  Check out Retrograde, one a my favorite songs (and his most popular) below.

As for Kwabs, (born Kwabena Adjepong), the son of Ghanaian immigrants to the UK, he is a multi-genre singer on the rise. From what I can tell, he is an archetypal example of the positive products that can come from this wonderful internet world. He started on YouTube and Facebook, and then performed for the first time in the UK on the BBC show, Goldie’s Band, in Buckingham Palace for Prince Harry and others. Known for the richness, control and range of his voice, Kwabs instantly gains your attention with the first note. Although he does have some originals (like Spirit Fade and Getaway) and is working on more, he gained most of his credibility with covers, such as the James Blake cover. I know I’m not crazy for liking him: India Arie tweeted in January that Joss Stone called just to tell her about Kwabs. That’s legit! Check out his YouTube Channel for more songs.

That’s all folks!

[itunes id=”418229809″]

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1 thought on “James Blake and Kwabs

  1. This stuff is great! ..and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s raining in bean-town! Perfect.

    Now to test whether or not the peepers enjoy it.

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