James Blake - ‘Overgrown’ + 10 Dollar Shake
Ingredients: 1 ounce amaretto liqueur (Disaronno works), 1 ounce kirsch, 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur, 4/5 ounce fresh lemon juice, 1/5 ounce simple syrup, 1 dash egg white, 1 dash Angostura bitters, 1 cherry with stem for garnish.
Mixing Instructions: Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker full of ice. Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass, add garnish and serve. (adapted from Adrian Gomes, Aberdeen, Scotland)
Notes: With all the anticipation surrounding the sophomore album from British electronic artist James Blake, it’s easy to forget that less than three years ago (heck, probably two if you weren’t working for a music blog) none of us had any idea who he was. One of my favorite music writers described seeing him during one of his first major U.S. performances,
When he took the stage at that church, he didn’t seem like some Internet Famous Celebrity: He seemed like a scared college kid in over his head. He hardly made eye contact with the audience at first, and was wearing a hoodie like it had a cloaking device. After the first song, he exhaled audibly into the mic; It was like he had just cleared some hurdle. He tried to talk into the mic, but he stammered. He recovered, and said thanks for coming. Then he played one of the most powerful sets I saw that whole festival.
But this follow-up is different - Blake has traveled a million miles in a couple years and seems to be making music that is less scared and fractured, and more intentional. Only a few dozen spins will answer whether or not much of his magic was contained within his uncertainty, but it’s a tantalizing musical journey to undertake and one that is best done with a spooky good drink.