James Blake’s Assume Form is an absolute tour de force of sound.

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James Blake’s Assume Form is an absolute tour de force of sound.

Marvin Villanueva, Senior

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The brilliant London-based, electronic producer and singer-songwriter, James Blake, comes to true form on his latest musical effort, Assume Form.

His last three records, James Blake (2011), Overgrown (2013), and The Colour in Anything (2016), were all in their own way, richly produced spectacles that not only showcased Blake’s trademark soulful vocals and brooding electronic R&B sound, but gave vindication to the listener of the sense of direction he’s going into, musically and personally.

Every album has been a bare exposure to the way he currently lives his life, comfortably noting every pain and hardship endured.

Although, Assume Form is partly an exception.

While he still gives an open brief on his personal endeavours, it is also Blake’s most optimistic and delightfully amorous release to date.

As a complete ode to love, Blake laments all of his private accounts in a stream of fear and doubt to an eventual heartstring-pulling infatuation. With the transcendent “Into The Red,” he swoons under gorgeously poignant violin chords and reveals: “She doesn’t love/Anything for herself/but for me she goes way in, way in/way into the red.” By showing the absolute devotion he and his partner hold for each other, Blake forces the listener to sense the same passion and emotion latched onto him.

Thankfully, this gushing sense of romanticism never ceases to end, with songs like the swayingly euphoric “I’ll Come Too,” Blake, under light, atmospheric instrumentation, shares his lasting fondness upfront, swooning: “I don’t want to go home/shall we drive from zone to zone?/I wouldn’t do this on my own.” It’s absolute bliss.

Additionally, on the utterly fascinating, “Can’t Believe the Way We Flow,” Blake masterfully shifts the song with a flick of wrist and creates an idyllic avalanche of sheer sound; it demands recognition. Unsurprisingly, this demands reigns true as Blake, in superb fashion, holds his own.

Whether matching Rosalía’s delicately vulnerable vocals on “Barefoot in the Park,” Moses Sumney’s intimate wails on “Tell Them,” Travis Scott’s Rodeo-inspired verses on “Mile High,” or Andre 3000’s tense flow on “Where’s The Catch?” Blake remains commander of his own ship and excellently steers a cohesive collection.

While eight years ago, the accomplished James Blake (2011), featured a blurred artistic portrait of the artist as the cover art, Assume Form, shows Blake in the forefront, slightly relaxing. Undoubtedly fitting, Assume Form is an exquisitely structured portrait of an artist.

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