Is James Blake’s ‘Building It Still’ Under Construction?


For a while now, James Blake has been an artist whose talent is an acquired taste. Still, the British producer and songwriter manages to churn out some head-scratching videos and intriguing  tunes that keep listeners guessing about what he has coming next.

During a recent spin as a guest DJ on BBC’s Radio 1, Blake dropped a new tune called “Building It Still.” Talk about a trip! James’ tune takes a journey through a variety of odd soundscapes and genres, and patches them together for the track.

Starting with junkyard acoustics (at one point, it sounds like a stick is repeatedly tapping a bottle) and stopwatch ticks, “Building It Still” features almost howl-like crooning and unintelligible mumbling over piano-driven simplicity. But as flavorful as those elements are, they get more diverse when peppered with lo-fi dubs and intermittently fading improvisational jazz percussion and rhythms. Fused together, it’s an aural experience that may have listeners thinking more about everyday audio than music — but it’s at that moment Blake’s musicality dares you to forget this is a song and that the sounds are merely different kinds of instruments. Prepare to be sonically challenged.

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