James Blake – A Case Of You
Switching gears from the minimal dubstep for which he is best known, ‘A Case Of You’ sees the Mercury Prize-nominated James Blake stripping things back to just voice and piano. While it might seem like a major departure for an artist so closely associated with urban music, this cover of the 1971 Joni Mitchell song actually makes perfect sense.
Long before he began dabbling in electronics, Blake started playing piano at the age of six, eventually going on to study Popular Music at Goldsmith’s college. While his early shows were mostly just him and a laptop, it’s clear that Blake’s love of live performance never went away. Following the release of his self-titled debut album Blake put together a full live band, allowing him to bring fresh life to his studio creations on stage.
“I’m a keyboard player, and just being able to play live in front of people and exercise that love of doing it in a way that I’ve never been able to do is great,” he told Pitchfork. “Before, there was frustration in being behind a computer and playing all this stuff – it was almost like being the pianist for a silent film. It’s not like you want the recognition, you just want to do it live and show yourself you can do it. There’s actually nothing better for me than to sing and play the piano in front of people.”
The haunting ‘A Case of You’ is an undeniably good fit for Blake. Joni Mitchell’s style is not an easy one to emulate, but he does a tremendous job of navigating the song’s vocal peaks and troughs. Despite its contrast to much of his musical output, Blake’s take on ‘A Case of You’ is a welcome addition to his repertoire.