Funny that James Blake's samples Timbaland: The CMYK EP sounds like a logical conclusion of the hip-hop mogul's most innovative productions. Blake, part of the fertile post-dubstep/IDM community along with Mount Kimbie, takes bits and pieces from plenty of sources and arranges them into twitchy glitchy 140 BPM-compatible tunes. They lack the pop sense of Timbaland—hence the IDM mention—but they're just as emotionally affecting, squeezing pathos out a single line from Kelis and warm, deep chords. Blake underpins nearly everything here with those comfortable blankets, wrapping you up while he makes you consider dancing.
It's a wonderful trick, but it's one he uses over and over again throughout CMYK. Blake's fascinating arrangements, however, keep each track distinct: "CMYK" is the busy banger, "Footnotes" pairs gospel chords with a vocoder, "I'll Stay" is similarly hymnal but this time goes call-and-response against twittering synths and "Postpone" starts as lumbering requiem before transforming into lumbering exultation. The tools are the same throughout: Stops. Starts. Stutters. Hints. Feints. And Blake never goes for the jugular ala his ecstatic Untold remix. But this young producer has seemingly taken more from Timbaland than just musical inspiration: He clearly also knows that a little bit of subtlety can go a long way.
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Tracklist: James Blake - CMYK A1 CMYK
B1 I'll Stay