April 4, 2012

You know you’ve made made it when Drake remixes you and Perez Hilton posts up your music and compares you to William Blake. I imagine the pink mamba meant James Blake, but maybe Perez is a massive fan of The Songs of Experience. As for British bred Jai Paul, he sounds like he’s a fan of “Little Girl Lost.” It’s hard to hear “Jasmine,” with its falsetto moans and oxygen-deprived atmosphere, as anything but an elegy for love and time splintered.

My problem with James Blake’s last record was it felt too mannered, a vain attempt to prize high brow ideas over fluid emotion. This is closer to the paper lantern melancholy of Mount Kimbie, Shlohmo, and Baths. IDM stripped of its original context — the spliff, the headphones, the E-Z chair and phosphorescent lap top screen. It is lovers rock for the Tumblr- wrenched, inchoate and fumbling, innocent but polished, eyes bloodshot, limbs slack.

So it goes when you only release one song a year, cultivate a semi-anonymous profile, and let bloggers babble over the identity of the mysterious man with the Kid N’ Play nouveau hair cut. It’s all good. One song this gorgeous is worth more than a career of mediocrity. Jai Paul has the gift of making minor moments seem memorable. “Jasmine” battles to stop summer’s prime from fading away. There is something to be valued about continuing to fight a war you are certain to lose.


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