Electronic

The title "Air and Lack Thereof" relates to one of James’s signature sounds, white noise. There’s a lot of horrible noise going on in the track, but it actually sounds really pleasant. I’ve always been into layering noise with things because it puts them on their own pillow, their own cloud. I like things to have their own bed of noise to sit on. "And when James DJs, he’s quite happy to slip some silence into his sets. It’s not pretentious, he says, he just wants to break it up a bit. “You don’t really appreciate some sounds until you’re not hearing them." James has released five singles this year, to considerable acclaim; for some reason, bloggers tend to pick up on the sense of isolation in his work and love to ruminate over his intricate beats. A few of his key tracks feature heavily edited, cut-up vocal samples from R&B records, but on his radical reading of Feist’s Limit to Your Love’ he sings the song himself, layering his voice. It’s a powerful number. "Limit to Your Love’ was the first time I ever used my voice and I gave special attention to it," he says. "I thought, well, I’m using my voice here so I’ll do something extra innovative." Some may be interested to know that he recorded that song 18 months ago and wasn’t even sure if he’d release it. Most of the album was written in his digs in New Cross and Deptford, though he’d often return to Enfield to clear his head and compose. No distractions there, no friends popping round, and if he looks out of his window it’s green and silent. What’s revealing is that he wrote the songs for his album at the same time as he was putting out the more experimental 12-inches. "I went through a lot of sounds. And the weird thing is, those songs don’t sound like anything on those 12-inches — they sound completely different." What is consistent, though, is the intoxicating effect his music is having as more and more people fall under its spell. Twelve months ago he was virtually unknown. Now James is the darling of the cutting edge, about to hit the mainstream, and there’s no question that he knows what he’s doing. "I have an obsession with emotion," he says. "I want to make dance music that actually connects with people in the way that a soul record does. I want my music to speak to you like a folk record does, in an organic, human way. It’s the human touch that I want."