Brow Beat

Turns Out James Blake Is the Perfect Person to Cover “The Sound of Silence”

James Blake performs on April 23, 2011 in France.

Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images

There’s a reason why, in 2011, Clash called James Blake the “crown prince of the quiet revolution.” Even then, the British singer’s sparse, post-everything brand of electronica felt new for its confident use of silence, for the way it made soft piano, mangled static, and percussive clicks pulse with energy.

Fitting, then, that Blake ended his most recent BBC 1 radio residency with a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.”  Blake and his guest, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, come as close as possible to elevating a classic: Their rendition beautifully pairs blue-eyed soul with a background of reverb, distant crackle, and stop-start organ chords. Fingers crossed that Blake’s third album, Radio Silence, sees daylight this year.