James Blake gives update on new Frank Ocean album and reveals failed Kanye West collaboration

Singer-songwriter released new album 'The Colour In Anything' today

Frank Ocean is “onto something” with his album, collaborator James Blake has revealed.

Blake, who released new album ‘The Colour In Anything’ today (May 6), spoke to Pitchfork about the making of the album. Frank Ocean is credited on two tracks on the album, including ‘My Willing Heart’, and Blake explained that gaining help from others was key to making the album work.

“In the middle of recording, I felt like I wasn’t going to finish this record if I didn’t get some help and start working with other people,” he said. “Making a record on your laptop is not the most stimulating process socially. You can really fall into the sinkhole if you’re not careful. So I thought, Fuck this, I’m going to spend time with other engineers. The idea came from working with Frank [Ocean], who was a huge inspiration for this record: his process, the way he writes, the strength of what he does, who he is. We became very good friends.”


Pushed on whether Frank Ocean’s long-awaited follow up to 2012’s ‘Channel Orange’ will be worth the wait, Blake added: “Yes [it will be], from what I know. It may be subject to change. He is onto something, he really is.”

One collaboration that didn’t quite come off though was Blake’s work with Kanye West. “I don’t really know how to describe how that didn’t work out,” he told Pitchfork. “I wanted Kanye to be on the song ‘Timeless,’ but the verse didn’t materialize. I think a huge swath of things happened in his life, and I just stayed out of it. Eventually, the mood of the album changed, and in the end I don’t think it would have fit. But I didn’t say I was working with Kanye just so people would get interested—I really wanted him to be on it.”

The album is Blake’s third full-length to date, following 2013’s Mercury Prize-winning ‘Overgrown’ and his 2011 self-titled debut. It features Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, who has said that his collaboration with Blake “came from wonderful accidents and good friendship”

The album’s cover features artwork drawn by Quentin Blake.