‘Hello darkness my old friend’ murmurs James Blake powerfully in his recent (or not so recent on the alternative music timescale) cover of Simon and Grafunkel’s Sound of Silence. Although I consider Radio 1 to be the station of the devil, this is another unashamed appraisal of what is genius. The combination of Simon and Garfunkel’s legendary composition and Blake’s ghostly recording style makes for one of the most intense records of the year. If Simon and Garfunkel’s weren’t enough, Blake adds his own cascading harmonies that really put his own stamp on things. To say that this record is biblical would not be an exaggeration. The use of the melancholic organ underneath Blake’s echoing interpretation of some of the finest lyrics probably EVER written (“silence like a cancer grows”) is chilling and ethereal at the same time. His cover harks back to Bon Iver’s ‘For Emma’ for just being so passionate. This awesome union between the kings of harmonious song writing and the prince of the dulcet melody is haunting and beautiful.
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