During James Blake's BBC 1 Residency show earlier this week, he debuted a collaborative cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" alongside Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Volcano Choir and several other projects.
According to Flavorwire, the song was dedicated to one of Blake's friends who died last year, and the collab marks the second time the two minimalist singers have worked together following "Fall Creek Boys Choir."
In true Blake fashion, the song features a hauntingly beautiful vocal part that rides over the top of seemingly structure-less synth-bass tones. The opening notes mimic the song's original melody, but sound more like the sirens from a bustling city, instantly transporting you to Greenwich Village where the song was conceived.
Blake is no slouch when it comes to hitting those high falsetto notes, but Vernon comes soaring in with his beautiful, crisp, messaged voice on the harmony. Any cover of "The Sound of Silence" can be measured by the song's climax -- "And the sign said the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls" -- and Blake and Vernon execute it masterfully.
The keys used on the song make it sound like a modern electro-gospel tune with a synth organ-like tone to the notes, which have generally come to define Blake's style. Give the song a listen below and let these two gorgeous voices sweep you away.
Few details have been released about Blake's forthcoming album Radio Silence, but according to Consequence of Sound, the album is set to feature collaborations from Kanye West and Vernon, but it's unclear whether that collaboration is the cover above or another original piece. The album may also include recent songs such as "Building it Still" and others off the 200 Press EP.
His 2013 masterpiece, Overgrown, was highly acclaimed having won the Mercury Prize, so there are large expectations to meet on Radio Silence.