Wednesday, 29 September 2010

James Blake: An Interview

Abandon Silence would like to wish a huge thank you to everyone that attended our show last Thursday at The Shipping Forecast in Liverpool. It was an absolutely huge success, with James Blake's headline set striking such a precedent for this Autumn that it is hard to imagine anyone beating it. Further thanks are given to our fantastic residents, Rich Furness and Horza, who once again absolutely killed The Shipping Forecast. Their opposing styles but awesome DJ skills make them residents that we are very proud to call our own. Guest KillaHurtz also deserves special mention for working through the tough test of following on from James Blake, which he handled superbly.

Luckily we were able to catch a few words with the man himself about the release of his new EP, Klavierwerke, out on R & S Records on the 10th October. It is pretty interesting to see his views on his own categorisation and the motives behind some of his decisions. We have also been able to, via FactMag, include audio of the title track of the new EP. I hope you enjoy, here is a picture of me looking very smug with James Blake, plus a few nice pictures from the evening below. To see all 129 pictures taken by the brilliant Robert Keith Seeley, click here.

So, here goes...

Abandon Silence (AS) : First and foremost, did you enjoy your Liverpool debut last Thursday? The Abandon Silence crowd seemed to really enjoy your set.

James Blake (JB) : I loved it yeah. It was nice to make my Liverpool debut and was chuffed at how open minded and nice people were, before during and after the set.

AS: We are fast approaching the release of your second EP with R&S records, titled Klavierwerke. How does this EP differ from any of your previous releases?

JB: I started to use my vocals (albeit in adulterated forms) a bit more candidly on this EP, so I feel a really strong connection with the music. Secondly, the piano samples are from the same recordings, not separated but equally bastardised and manipulated. I fell in love with the sound of the piano again on this EP, but this time in an electronic context.

AS: When you approached the creation of the Klavierwerke EP, which records/artists influenced you? Are these the same artists that influenced all of your work so far?

JB: I think the track that brought me to this new sound was 'Baves Chords' by mount kimbie, and possibly certain beatless burial tracks. I wrote Klavierwerke in a slightly different headstate, with memories of Berghain fresh in my mind.

AS: Klavierwerke is your second release with R&S records, as you help with it's remarkable re-emergence. What attracted you to work with them? Im sure there were other offers..

JB: The two EP's are so different that it takes a label like R&S, with their huge range of output, to release them consecutively without hesitation. I was excited to work with them because they've been reborn, and their reputation precedes them. Their audience base is also really diverse, which means it's reaching people that might not otherwise have heard it. I'm good friends with all the labels i've released on and I send them all my new stuff, so it's a matter of where it fits really.

AS: How did it feel to have your first full solo EP release, CMYK, given universal acclaim by critics? Had you expected it?

JB: I just wanted to make a track that brought out the euphoria i'd experienced listening to pangaea and joy orbison sets, and in doing so I made something that took on a life of it's own.. A while later it was incredibly surreal to hear it on Radio 1 and the like, but then the day i'm not suprised, humbled and delighted by people liking my music might be a very sad day.

AS: On the tracks that you have released, there has been a great variety in moods and atmospheres. Do you pick and choose your styles from production to production, or is it just natural?

JB: It sounds obvious but whatever I'm feeling at the time should be captured, or I'm doing something dishonest. Therefore the atmosphere is always changing and my music (like life) goes through phases.

AS: You appear to have been placed into the 'dubstep' genre. With such a difference between your music and the productions of other 'dubstep' artists such as, say, Borgore, how does it feel to be categorised side by side with such opposing sounds?

JB: I like to think I placed myself in the dubstep genre. When I started doing it I was listening to Mala, Coki and later Mount Kimbie, none of which are really categorised side by side with people like Borgore. I'm happy to play nights alongside people like Borgore because for me, opposing sounds make interesting nights, and make it easier for my music to have a clear shot at the runway.

AS: Finally, I ask all artists that I interview this question, which three records are you loving right now?

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
An unnamed dub by Blawan who released on Hessle, and who is one of my favourite new producers

Finally we would like to thank James wholeheartedly for being an excellent guest at Abandon Silence last Thursday. It was a huge success and was most certainly memorable in part for his epic set.

James Blake - Klavierwerke (128) by factmag

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Thursday Night

In one last shameful plug for the club night, here once again are the details, along with some very nice tunes from the headliner himself, James Blake.

Abandon Silence 02

Thursday 23rd September 10pm - 3am at The Shipping Forecast, Slater St, Liverpool.

James Blake

Rich Furness

£5 advanced tickets available at
£6 on the door

Please come along and show your support. I am trying to push something fresh for Liverpool and have some killer line ups planned before Xmas so get involved now!

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Monday, 13 September 2010

White Russia

Ill be honest with you, one of the oddest things to happen since creating this blog has been the endless stream of emails I receive about new bands/DJs/producers. At the start, I thought this was excellent, getting told about new artists all the time. However, after a while it gets quite grating hearing the same music over and over again in (VERY) varied quality.

I do listen to all of the emails I receive, thought to be honest most don't fit with what I'm after. However, I recently got an email about White Russia, a new band from South London who are apparently influenced by Bjork and Depeche Mode. I would not usually be interested in this style of music, but one particular track I was linked was just superb.

The Solution has a slow burning intro, with some great vocals. At around the 1:20 mark the bass and percussion kick in to create a fantastic crescendo. This track is excellent, I recommend that you check these guys out while they're fresh...

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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Pariah - Safehouses EP : A Review

I apologise for the recent lack of posts, the impact of running the club night has affected all aspects of my life, with the blog one of many things having to take a step back. However, despite the rigours of organising these nights, I have still been downloading a steady stream of new music - undeniably most of it isn't that great, with many tracks being deleted almost as soon as Ive got them on my iTunes, but still every now and then something just blows me away.

The track(s) in question come from Pariah. I have been clucking for his Safehouses EP since it was first announced back in July, and I finally copped a digital version via eMusic earlier today. The EP is just deliriously beautiful, with some hip hop, 2step and dubstep thrown into a very classy mixing pot. I have decided to ditch the usual brief review style and I will administer a thorough seeing to to each of the six tracks to be found on the EP. Partly because I cannot pick a single track that deserves special mention. (and also that I am back at Uni next week and need to get back into writing.)

So, here goes....

First track The Slump is a delicious little slice, with some great spindley percussion building towards an undoubtedly Untold influenced bass lead drop. It is really a very sparse affair for the opening, before a cascade of percussion, synths and vocals come to join in. The track is an excellent opener for the EP, setting such a quality that the other tracks fight to keep up with.

The Slump is quickly followed by Prism, which begins as your typical 130 banger. However, at around 90 seconds in, the track takes on a different form and evolves into a slow build featuring some epically peaceful chopped and looped vocals, which cascade throughout the peaceful beat, leading to a final breakdown featuring the previously mentioned 130 beats, which are suddenly a lot more bearable. Possible EP highlight, this could go on to rival Joy Orbison as a crossover into DJ sets in almost any genre.

Railroad, the third track on Safehouses, greets us with a subtly complicated 2step vocal led introduction. A very crafty drum build is flitted in and out of the beat, giving the impression of some 'Filth' drop is around the corner. Thankfully that is just a phase and it all collapses into some very James Blake styled majoratively synth based 2step. A very dreamy track, the 2step really compliments the vocals and layered synths, creating probably the most atmospheric track here.

Crossed Out is another track around the 130 bpm area, with a similar style to the opening/closing beat from The Slump evident throughout. Despite my seemingly negative approach to it's pressence in The Slump, in the habitat created by Pariah in this track, the fast paced beat seems right at home here. There are some teasing vocals that are dispersed across the song, and also some great side partings of ambience that recall the opening of Joy Orbison's 2009 classic Hyph Mngo, before resuming back into the very choppy vocals. Easiest description would be a funky update of last EP highlight, Orpheus, however I feel that it required a more in depth description.

With the penultimate track, C Beams, Pariah takes us on a musical journey to FlyLo, Dilla, Madlib via his own track, Detroit Falls and Bristolian Joker. The vast drop in bpm is noticeable, but not worried about, some very Zomby-like skittley jabbing synths carry the expansive beat along it's path. Some wailing vocals are welcomed to bring some light to this increasingly dark track, before some Balam Acab style bass jumps are stabbed in. The purple sounding synths seem to work so well at this speed, that it is a wonder that Joker, Peverelist or Pinch haven't considered attempting this. (If they have and Ive missed it, apologies.) The pianos that introduce the track are worthy of making this track on a par with Prism as the EP highlights.

The final cut, Safehouses, is a beatless wonder. With no discernable drum beat to follow, a lot of responsibility is placed upon the ambience and atmosphere that Pariah is able to muster. This skill was sublimely done by Skream on his recent LP opener, Perforated. This song most reminds me of the sea. I know that appears to be some pretentious arty thing to say, but it really does. The waves of reverb that loop are sublime, creating an emotional soundscape. To say that this track really doesn't switch or drop or change in all of its 4 minutes and 11 seconds without me getting even slightly bored, is a testament in itself to the production skills of Pariah.

So, R&S continue their 100% record with UK bass music since their relaunch in 2008. After getting releases from Pariah and James Blake, they firmly have their finger on the pulse of UK Electronic music. This EP should make a name out of Pariah. If DJs are willing to give his tracks a go, I believe that certainly Prism should become a danceflooor hit. If not, Pariah will still have his own supporters who will stay faithful as long as he continues to bring such amazing music to our ears.

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