James Blake

09.08.11 Words by: Charlie Jones

Not withstanding an awkwardly lengthy pause for technical problems between his first and second tracks, James Blake’s return to London – introduced with a humble ‘it’s great to be back home’ – is as confident and impressive a performance as he’s ever given and one that is, for the most part, appreciated with near-reverential silence. With an increasing move from triggered samples to live percussion Blake’s drummer Ben Assiter lends the set a dub edge, throwing brittle, delay-laden snares over warm bass reverb and heightening the off-beat tendencies of Blake’s set that has previously been sorely underemphasized. ‘CMYK’ and ‘Limit To Your Love’ are the most surefire favourites, with the latter proving testament to the festival’s improved sound and arresting even those at the tent’s far-flung corners with a tight hug of bass, yet the ‘Lindesfarne’ couplet is the set’s high point with Blake at his most human, a bruising and emotive pairing.