The Bells Sketch
|The Bells Sketch|
|EP by James Blake|
|Released||8 March 2010|
|James Blake chronology|
The songs on The Bells Sketch have a speed of around 72 beats per minute, which is considered slow for dance music. The title track of the EP features "playful" vocals, "erratic jazz piano basslines", and synthesizers. The song's vocals are a mix of samples and Blake's own voice. It opens with a violin-like sound, after which Blake starts singing. After each phrase, a "video-game noise" covers up the vocals. Halfway through the track, Blake's voice is drowned out by bass.
The next track, "Buzzard and Kestrel", starts with a mixture of muffled vocals and dog whistle melodies. The song stays this way for half its duration, until a cowbell is played. The song then fades out as it ends. It is influenced by lounge piano and Outkast snare patterns, and features some synthesizer. The final track of the album is "Give A Man A Rod". The song is driven by claps sounding like drums, and vocals akin to Flying Lotus. A version of the song without a drop was released in 2011, entitled "Give A Man A Rod (Second Version)".
The EP received generally positive reviews from music critics. Mike Coleman of FACT magazine gave The Bells Sketch 4 and a half "records" out of 5, saying "The Bells Sketch is a complex thing – beautiful and difficult, its glitch-peppered oddities are addictive, but bursting at the seams with a desire to experiment and a complete lack of compromise." Mike Powell of Pitchfork Media said of the EP: "I think it's both (brilliant and a high-concept mess), but I really like high-concept messes."
Resident Advisor also gave the album 4 and a half stars out of 5. Speaking of the EP, critic Oli Marlow said: "Deliciously weird, off-key and superbly layered, James Blake's debut outing on Hessle Audio manages to succinctly justify the hype his work is now receiving." In 2010, Pitchfork Media named The Bells Sketch the eighth best album of the year, along with fellow EPs CMYK and Klavierwerke; the website was "amazed" at how Blake released three EPs in one year, all of different styles.
All tracks written by James Blake.
|1.||"The Bells Sketch"||4:18|
|2.||"Buzzard & Kestrel"||5:43|
|3.||"Give A Man A Rod"||4:36|
The following people were involved in the making of The Bells Sketch:
- "The Bells Sketch – EP by James Blake". iTunes. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Mike Powell (25 February 2010). "James Blake: "The Bells Sketch". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Oli Marlow (17 March 2010). "James Blake – The Bells Sketch (single)". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Mike Coleman (8 March 2010). "James Blake: The Bells Sketch EP". FACT. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- David Bevan (12 May 2011). "James Blake: "Give A Man A Rod (Second Version)"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Mike Powell (16 December 2010). "Staff Lists: The Top 50 Albums of 2010". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 26 February 2012.