CMYK is the second solo extended play by London-based indie producer James Blake. It was released in both the United Kingdom and the United States on R&S Records on 28 May 2010. It samples many tracks, mostly from 1990s R&B. The EP received positive reviews from critics.
|Released||28 May 2010|
|Recorded||2010 in James Blake's home|
|Genre||UK bass, post-dubstep, electronic pop|
|James Blake chronology|
The title track samples Kelis' "Caught out There" and Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?". Pitchfork described the track as "modern homage to old ideas" as Blake "[took] two R&B archetypes ... and imagines them in a back and forth." On the track, Blake sings normally and also occasionally uses a vocoder to process his voice. The track is influenced by 1990s rave pop and also contains synthesizers. The following song, "Footnotes" also has Blake using the vocoder, but the song is hymnal and contains "gospel chords". It is a minimalistic track; it uses slight noises to create an "atmospheric" sound.
The next song "I'll Stay" samples Aaliyah's "Try Again" and has been described as the "warmest, most accessible track of [CMYK]". It is also hymnal, but it contains a call and response with repeated, high-pitched synthesizers. The final track, "Postpone" has been likened to a "lumbering requiem before transforming into lumbering exultation." It features electronic beats, "hip hop choruses", and "triumphant" horns.
The EP received generally positive reviews from music critics. Mike Powell of Pitchfork complimented how Blake used the samples in his music, and gave the EP a score of 8.3 out of 10. FACT magazine named "Postpone" as the highlight of CMYK, and called the EP "the most anthemic thing Blake's done to date." In the review, the EP received 4 out of 5 "records", and the reviewer stated that he was "sold [on Blake's music]."
Sam Louis of Resident Advisor gave CMYK 4 out of 5 stars and stated that "Blake underpins nearly everything here with those comfortable blankets, wrapping you up while he makes you consider dancing." He also wrote "[Blake] clearly also knows that a little bit of subtlety can go a long way", and that "[his songs are] just as emotionally affecting, squeezing pathos out a single line from Kelis and warm, deep chords." Pitchfork later named CMYK the eighth best album of the year, along with The Bells Sketch EP and Klavierwerke EP; the website applauded how Blake released so much material in a year.
All tracks written by James Blake.
- iTunes - Music - CMYK - EP - James Blake iTunes. Retrieved 19 December 2011
- Mike Powell (24 May 2010). "James Blake: CMYK EP". Pitchfork. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Richard Kemp (22 October 2010). "REVIEW: James Blake – CMYK/Klavierwerke EP". Pretty Much Amazing. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Sam Louis (11 June 2010). "James Blake – CMYK (single)". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- James Curtis (8 December 2010). "James Blake – CMYK EP". Indie Shuffle. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- "James Blake's I'll Stay sample of Aaliyah's Try Again". WhoSampled. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Zainab Jama (27 May 2010). "James Blake:'CMYK'". FACT. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Mike Powell (16 December 2010). "Staff Lists: The Top 50 Albums of 2010". Pitchfork. Retrieved 26 February 2012.