As is the custom, James Blake’s long-awaited essential mix for BBC Radio 1 aired at an ungodly hour yesterday night but since we live in times where everything is archived in the nick of time, today the showcase is available for anyone to fix in mind. Despite having gained immeasurable amounts of exposure in the past few months, Blake shows off his remarkability as an artist that stays true to himself, maintaining his own vision from beginning to end which is lovely as we’ve always rated Blake’s selection highly. The outcome of his Essential Mix is a two hours long musical expedition through the old and new, the familiar and the unversed and an incredible listen throughout.
A first observation is that the mix really is more of a showcase rather than a mix. Blake takes a more thoroughgoing approach than for ones he’s done in the past as he touches on a much more outspread range of music: from gospel to chopped and screwed rap tracks, clarinet elegies and orchestral electronica, back to a little bit of footwork and folk music, and pulling it off like nobody else. His careful presentation of his own favourites is just as exciting as the seducing amount of unreleased tracks by himself hidden in there, highlights being the “No More Than A Road” dub, the return of old gem “Polite Promises” under the new name “Olivia Kept” and “Love Comes Back” near the end of the mix. Now we could spoil the entirity for you, but we’re leaving you with the lowdown of a transition from the smooth “One Mo’ Gin” jam by D’Angelo into “Sicko Cell” alongside Gnossiennes by Satie. Y faire face. Have a listen for yourself.
Download: James Blake – BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix