La La Land
might have offered us a sun-drenched, nostalgic LA, but this new James Blake
video counters that, modernizing things and swapping the sun for a haze of artificial lighting. It's a trip of a visual, aligning Blake's unique, glitched up vocal with a nighttime drive that evolves into a sensory feast. Night driving has featured prominently in plenty of music videos before, but director Alexander Brown has managed to twist a pretty simple concept into something resembling an urban 2001: A Space Odyssey
Though we've not heard an original James Blake song since his third LP The Colour in Anything
dropped back in 2016, the London producer has kept busy in the intervening years. Just a couple of weeks ago he popped up, albeit briefly, on "King's Dead" alongside Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, and Future. Prior to that he decided it was time to break a few hearts, closing out 2017 with a beautiful cover of Don McLean's mournful ballad "Vincent".
"If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead" takes us back to Blake's aesthetic beginnings as he delves into a typically experimental soundscape without abandoning his minimalist tendencies or haunting vocal falsetto. This time Blake's distinctive voice is cut into bite-sized pieces and stitched back together again, serving as a shape-shifting additional instrument on the track. The production is crisp, as expected, with a nice analog hiss adding a late-night ambience to proceedings.
I don't think it's a stretch to imagine that "If The Car Beside You Moves Ahead" could be the first song from a yet-to-be-announced fourth LP. He's been performing previously unheard material during his live shows and the time frame between past releases would suggest that we're just about due a new James Blake album. Right now, he's about to set off on a tour around Europe with Kendrick Lamar, but here's hoping we'll get an official announcement sooner rather than later.