Francis Alban Blake’s posthumous release, “Strawberry Jam,” is a haunting exploration of existential emptiness and somber moods. The pseudonym of Dutch poet and artist Frans de Blaak, Blake’s disappearance in 2018 and subsequent discovery dead in France in 2022 added an enigmatic layer to his music. Although he never released his work, Blake left a will requesting fellow songwriter and producer Frank Bond to complete his musical legacy.
“Strawberry Jam” emerges as a poignant reflection on the struggle to find happiness amid a world that often feels desolate. The broken sounds, out-of-tune organs, and poetic holograms embedded in the music mirror Blake’s own depressive state, creating an emotionally charged sonic landscape. Released on October 7th, 2022, the single delves into themes of existential questioning and the role of art in a world that may reject such concepts. The sound draws comparisons to the likes of Leonard Cohen, Sufjan Stevens, and Nick Drake, with nylon string fingerpicking, poetic lyricism, and alternative acoustic vibes.
In his own words, “I am not depressed. I just don’t like where this world is heading anymore. So I’m going to disappear and then find a good place to die. Please do forget me. Help each other.” These haunting sentiments add depth to the melancholic atmosphere of “Strawberry Jam.” The biography surrounding Francis Alban Blake is as mysterious as his music. Disappearing intentionally in 2018 and leaving behind a completed record, “Passages,” Blake’s legacy took an unexpected turn with his posthumous discovery in 2022. Frank Bond, granted permission by Blake’s family, completed the last collection of songs entitled “Spells” as a swan song release. “Strawberry Jam” stands not only as a musical piece but as a haunting relic of an artist’s inner turmoil, inviting listeners into the contemplative and melancholic world of Francis Alban Blake.