James Blake - The Colour In Anything
Release date: May 6, 2016 Label: Polydor Records
In interviews surrounding the surprise release of James Blake’s third full-length LP, The Colour In Anything, the reclusive artist told stories of falling in love and yearning to open himself up to collaboration—even hinting at a possible appearance from Kanye West.
Admirers of his Mercury Prize-winning sophomore album Overgrown may have been worried about losing the nocturnal shut-in they fell in love with, but Blake managed to deftly weave his evolving worldview into the familiar delicate setting of his past works. Like its predecessors, The Colour In Anything is soaked in solitude and heartbreak—but it cracks open a window to let in glimmers of hope alongside slyly incorporated collaborators Frank Ocean, Rick Rubin, and Justin Vernon.
Traditionally shrouded vocals are emboldened to make their way to the front of stark electronic arrangements, and Blake's mastery of experimental production techniques appears sharper than ever. Molding the same collection of materials he’s always worked with in stunning new ways, this album is a rare example of an artist pushing himself to grow and evolve without losing the essence that endeared him to so many fans in the first place.—Eric Skelton