James Blake – Love What Happened Here

written by: January 11, 2012
Release Date: December 11, 2011


It’s not often that a three-track EP makes such an impression, but that’s just the impact young James Blake has. Love What Happened Here is his third release in 2011 alone, after James Blake and Enough Thunder. But fans hoping to hear more of that kind of music should tune out now because this album is something else entirely.

As the first track, “Love What Happened Here” adds a twist of R&B spice right from the start. This soulful song blends organ with horn, straying far from typical R&B sounds, but with a jazzy appeal in the cut-up vocals and choppy instrumentation. The track has a unique appeal all it’s own, a Blake-ness, if you will.

Each track gives off a different feel, which is what makes it so appealing to a variety of fickle fans. With its soft elements of ambient and trance, “At Birth” is closest to Blake’s original material. But as it hypnotizes and lulls the listener, a progressive hint begins to emerge and the sounds feel darker. It has all the components of a good house groove wrapped up into one—it’s possibly the best track here.

Unfortunately, the ending of this serene EP is very jilting and offbeat. “Curbside” seems like an experiment gone wrong. The song completely lacks the relaxing vibe of the rest of the EP. The strong drum beat is just an annoyance, and the girl moaning “stop” makes you want to do just that. But when listened to apart from the rest of the album, “Curbside” is a personal, artistic and tasteful expression, and the song does exactly what Blake wants it to do: gives fans a glimpse of where his music is headed in the years to come. He builds a foundation for a whole new sound, perhaps a whole new genre, open to new experimentation. As annoying as “Curbside” can seem at first, after a few listens, it is an intriguing tune synthesized to perfection.

This talented British electronic music producer has created an interesting listen with this brief release, and has slipped us a hint about what’s up his sleeve.

The sense of progression found on his album can be clearly identified as Blake makes a move from his previous style of house music to a more modern dubstep, trance-infused style. Blake limited his vocals on this release and let the sounds of the tracks take on a characterization of their own, not unlike his first EP from 2010, The Bells Sketch. With each release, it’s out with the old Blake and in with the new. Blake has claimed his place in the musical world with his chameleonic and prolific output, but listeners know they haven’t heard the last of him. His music is exiting the comfort zone (if there ever was one) and entering the unknown.

James Blake – Love What Happened Here tracklist:

  1. “Love What Happened Here”
  2. “At Birth”
  3. “Curbside”