P4k Day 1: James Blake

July 16, 2011

Special Pitchfork Music Festival Contributor

James Blake closed out the Blue Stage and it was packed.  Joined by two others, Blake’s moody, glitched out and atmospheric set beginnings grew with simmering, percolating rhythms by midset. While the more driving dubstep stylings had fans grooving, one of the largest reactions was during his stellar cover of Feist’s “Limit to Your Love,” a subtler song whose minimalist grooves, piano lines and lyrics felt extra palpable in Blake’s hands. Another highlight was “Whilhelms Scream.” Aptly building a soundscape that employed tension and release, the song launched with its sweet guitar and undercurrent of subtle beats progressed into a wall of washed-out white noise before receding when Blake and Co. peeled back the sonics and only his processed vocals and spare accompaniment  remained. “I’m falling, falling, falling. Might as well fall,” he said, and it seemed the crowd had done just that. A definite highlight.

Unfortunately, nature, hunger and filing the first post called, which led to my missing pretty much all of Das Racist’s set. My colleague Jesse Menendez caught the set and tweeted a few thoughts, though.