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James Blake

James Blake (R&S)

Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, Fri., March 18, 2011

SXSW Records

James Blake

(R&S)

Nine months before James Blake's eponymous release came out, the then-21-year-old British producer dropped "CMYK," a pulsating banger that repurposed dubstep with a clever sampling of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?." Thus was forged a new subgenre of dubstep, with Blake almost saving its predecessor from mainstream blah-dom in the process. His full-length arrives decidedly sleepier and conceptually half-baked. He drastically drops the tempo ("Give Me My Month"), cuts the samples, and fills dreamlike tracks with his own quasi-Auto-Tuned vocals ("Unluck"), but there's little semblance of any fully realized songs. In the struggle, he reveals an unbecoming propensity for blurring song endings that fade into pseudo-dubstep oblivion. It's perfect for getting some shut-eye, but the boy wonder bores when cast upon alert ears. (Wed., 9:15pm, Stubb's; Thu., 1am, Central Presbyterian Church)

**

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