James Blake has released Playing Robots Into Heaven, his sixth studio album (not including the collection of ambient productions titled Wind Down that he released last year).
The album was first signposted in June with the release of “Big Hammer”, which featured the Ragga Twins, and Blake followed that with just one more pre-release single, “Loading”, in late July.
Yesterday, the British singer-songwriter wrote a tongue-in-cheek post on X that he would release a new album if “this Tweet gets 1,000,000 likes”. Quickly putting fans out of their misery, he quoted that post not long after with the words, “I can’t believe we did it”, even though the post only hit 21.1k likes.
Many are hailing the album as a return to classic Blake territory, swapping the more upbeat sounds and live instruments of previous albums like Friends That Break Your Heart for the more downcast electronics that first brought him to fame on his self-titled album in the post-dubstep era of the early 2010s.
Features-wise, he’s kept things pretty pared-back. Joining the Ragga Twins are Pentecostal preacher and gospel musician Pastor T.L. Barrett and enigmatic hit-maker Starrah. Blake also interpolates Snoop Dogg and Pharrell’s “Beautiful” on “I Want You To Know”. Among the additional producers credited on the album are Dom Maker, Rob McAndrews, Khushi and Blake’s wife, Jameela Jamil.
Take it all in below.