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James Blake returns with new album ‘Playing Robots Into Heaven’

Singer returns to electronic music roots with first single 'Big Hammer'

By Daniel Kreps

James Blake performing live in 2019
James Blake performing live in 2019 (Photo: Alamy)

James Blake returned in a big way Wednesday as the singer simultaneously announced a new tour, new song and new album, titled Playing Robots Into Heaven.

Playing Robots Into Heaven, like its predecessor Friends That Break Your Heart, finds Blake reconnecting with his electronic music roots, similar to his acclaimed early EPs.

Ahead of the LP’s Sept. 8 release, Blake has shared the Oliver Hudson-directed video for the first single “Big Hammer,” a predominantly instrumental track with sampled vocals but none from Blake himself:

A month after the album’s release, Blake will embark on a brief North American tour that stretches from Queens to Los Angeles over the course of two weeks.

While Playing Robots Into Heaven is considered Blake’s sixth studio LP and the follow-up to 2021’s Friends That Break Your Heart, the artist did release an album of ambient music in 2022, titled Wind Down, that made use of AI technology and served as a sleep aid.

Blake is currently residing on the Hot 100, but not for any Playing Robots Into Heaven tracks: The singer has scored a hit as a featured artist on Metro Boomin’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse standout ‘Hummingbird’.

Playing Robots Into Heaven Track List
1. ‘Asking to Break’
2. ‘Loading’
3. ‘Tell Me’
4. ‘Fall Back’
5. ‘He’s Been Wonderful’
6. ‘Big Hammer’
7. ‘I Want You to Know’
8. ‘Night Sky’
9. ‘Fire the Editor’
10. ‘If You Can Hear Me’
11. ‘Playing Robots Into Heaven’

From Rolling Stone US.