James Blake has been shocking us with the depth of his talent for a couple of years now. He is on a territory all his own when it comes to making music. After getting his start while still in school, as a DJ in the London dubstep scene, Blake has shown that he is so, so much more than a club DJ. He has a soulful, achingly beautiful voice – that has no trouble handling a song on it’s own – and a classically trained background as a pianist, skills which he uses in the most creative, unusual ways.
Yet another weapon in James Blake’s arsenal is his uncanny ability to warp sounds and samples, many times of his own voice. Under his “Harmonimix” alias, he shows off his talents “remixing” hip-hop and R&B songs. But remix isn’t the word that comes to mind when I hear Harmonomix material, more a re-imagining. He takes the vocals from a song, say Destiny’s Child’s classic “Bills Bills Bills,” for example, and puts them over his own completely original beats. Then, he makes the vocals do, essentially, whatever he pleases, whether it be layering, pitch shifting, or whatever else Blake does to make Beyonce sound like an alien. So far, there is a decent amount of Harmonimix material floating around the web, including a mind-altering, jazzy “remix” of Lil’ Wayne’s “A Milli,” and a house-influenced version of UK MC Trim’s track, “Confidence Boost.”