Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

James Blake wins 2013 Mercury Prize with second album Overgrown

James Blake, Overgrown
James Blake, Overgrown
James Blake arriving at the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize ceremony at the Roundhouse, Camden.
James Blake arriving at the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize ceremony at the Roundhouse, Camden.
The Mercury Prize 2013 nominees

James Blake won this year's Mercury Prize for music for his album Overgrown.

He accepted the £20,000 award at a ceremony at the Roundhouse in Camden Town, north London.

Speaking at the awards, he thanked his parents for teaching him to be "self-sufficient".

The London-based electronic music producer and singer was previously nominated in 2011 for his debut album James Blake.

He beat 11 other acts including David Bowie and bookies favourite Laura Mvula.

Other nominees included previous winners Arctic Monkeys and singer-songwriter Jake Bugg.

The £20,000 prize is open to British and Irish acts and aims to reward the best album of the year.

The other nominees were:

1. Laura Mvula, Sing to the Moon

Who is she: Bookies’ favourite Mvula was working as a receptionist until her demo tracks were picked up by music managers. Born in Birmingham, Mvula is classically trained with a degree in composition from the Birmingham Conservatoire. Her debut album Sing to the Moon was release in March.

Independent critic’s star rating: *****

What they say: “We've got a special one here... May be the soundtrack of the summer.”

Odds: 6/4

2. Disclosure, Settle

Who are they? Brother electronic music duo from Reigate, Surrey. Guy, 22 and Howard, 19, scored two consecutive top ten hit singles with “White Noise” and “You & Me” earlier this year. Their debut album Settle debuted at number one on the UK official album chart.

Independent critic’s star rating: *

What they say: “Track after track of drab, methodical beats plodding along laboriously behind finicky little hihat moves and quacking synth lines.”

Odds: 10/3

3. David Bowie, The Next Day

Who is he? The man needs no introduction. Bowie broke back onto the music scene this year with the surprise announcement of a new album, The Next Day. He cast Tilda Swinton in the ethereal video to his second single “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” from the album, which debuted at number one.

A major retrospective about his career opened at the V&A in March.

Independent critic’s star rating: *****

What they say: “Rarely has a comeback been affected with such panache as David Bowie displays on The Next Day.”

Odds: 6/1

4. Foals, Holy Fire

Who are they? An indie math-rock band from Oxford, they released their third album Holy Fire in February, which reached number two in the album charts. The Foals played at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year and are currently on their world tour.

Independent critic’s star rating: ***

What they say: “On Holy Fire, Foals move further away from their nerdy math-rock origins to a more muscular rock'n'roll style.”

Odds: 10/1

5. Arctic Monkeys, AM

Who are they? The indie-rock band that rose to fame in the mid noughties returned this year with their fifth number one album AM. The foursome from Sheffield made history to become the only independent group to have had five consecutive number one albums.

Independent critic’s star rating: ****

What they say: “A sassy self-overhaul, AM issues lubricious R&B come-ons over a self-assured narrative arc with personality and open potential cannily spliced.”

Odds: 10/1

6. Laura Marling, Once I Was An Eagle

Who is she? A folk musician from Hampshire, who at just 23 has had four albums. Her newest album Once I Was An Eagle went to number three in the charts this year.

Independent critic’s star rating: *****

What they say: “Even in a career already marked by unusual precocity, Once I Was an Eagle is an extraordinary achievement.”

Odds: 10/1

7. Jon Hopkins, Immunity

Who is he? An electronica and dance producer from south London, he has collaborated with Brian Eno, Imogen Heap, Coldplay and David Holmes. He was nominated for the Ivo Novello  Award in 2011 and was previously nominated for the Mercury Prize for his album Diamond Mine in 2011.

Not reviewed by The Independent.

Odds: 12/1

8. Savages, Silence Yourself

Who are they? An all-girl post-punk revival rock band based in London. They formed in 2011 and their debut album, Silence Yourself, reached number 19 in the charts in May.

Independent critic’s star rating: ****

What they say: “Post-millennial indie boy-rock has taken a savage beating here. And it may prove the best it’s ever had.”

Odds: 12/1

9. James Blake, Overgrown

Who is he? A London-based electronic music producer and singer. He was previously nominated in 2011 for his debut album James Blake.

Independent critic’s rating: ****

They say: “He sculpts his skeletal pulses and ghostly palimpsests of piano chords into more persuasive structures that allow his airy, melismatic falsetto to soar freely.”

Odds: 20/1

10. Jake Bugg, Jake Bugg

Who is he? A 19-year-old singer songwriter from Nottingham who started playing the guitar aged 12. He was nominated for British Breakthrough Act at this year’s Brit awards. 

Independent critic’s rating: ****

They say: “A youthful troubadour following in Ed Sheeran's footsteps, Jake Bugg brings a scrappily engaging rockabilly intensity to catchy folk rants.”

Odds: 33/1]

11. Rudimental, Home

Who are they? A British electronic music quartet from east London. Rudimental rose to prominence last year with their number one single “Feel the Love”. Their debut album, Home, reached number one earlier this year and stayed in the charts for 25 weeks.

Independent critic’s rating: ****

They say: “Just when you think it's done, it finds another gear through the kind of sly, brilliant touch that suggests Rudimental are worthy heirs to the likes of Soul II Soul and Basement Jaxx.”

Odds: 33/1

12. Villagers, Awayland

Who are they? An indie folk band from Dublin. They were previously nominated for their 2010 album Becoming a Jackal, and have toured with a number of big names including Grizzly Bear, Tracy Chapman and Elbow.

Independent critic’s rating: *****

They say: “With results both as pleasurable, as inventive and as absorbing as these, there seems no danger that the impact of {Awayland} will be merely momentary.“

Odds: 50/1

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