Saturday, 11 June 2011

Jamie xx - From 'XX' to 'Far Nearer'

Jamie Smith, AKA Jamie xx AKA member of the band The XX, is a man after my own heart (although he may have to share it with David Kennedy...)

It took me a while to get around to listening to the XX's eponimous first album. Every time I turned on the radio, read a music blog, watched TV, there would be someone talking about The XX and how great they were and for a long time I resisted. I don't much like being told what's "cool" and what I should be listening to but eventually I caved and boy am I glad I did as to my surprise, the reports were true - it really was a great album. As a bass head the one thing that I didnt expect to hear was the heavy rumble of a baseline which weaved between the emotional vocals and guitar riffs in amongst various tracks. However in the coming months and after its release and hearing what Jamie was capable of on his own, it made absolute and complete sense... Jamie is a bass head too.

More recently, and in a move that I'm not sure was expected by most people if anyone, Jamie worked with the late, great Gil Scot Heron, via XL boss Richard Russell, to great success. Now, I'm not going to lie here, my knowledge of Mr. Herons back catalogue is a little limited but what I do know is how much I've enjoyed listening to 'I'm New Here' since it's release last year. So for Jamie to take a music from critically acclaimed album by an much loved and respected legend and come up with a remix album which critically has been just as successful is pretty mind blowing and the dubstep and garage influences are undeniable here as they are in his earlier work. Check out Blackdown blog for a in depth interview with Jamie on the process of making 'We're New Here'.

Jaime's first solo effort 'Far Nearer/ Beat For' couldn't be a better debut. The punctuated melody of the steel drum (a tenor if i'm not  mistaken ;)), the almost 'live' sounding percussion and pitched vocals of Far Nearer had me beaming from ear to ear.

Jamie xx - Far Nearer (limited vinyl & download out now - by Numbers

There's no doubt that 'Far Nearer' is the stronger track of the two but 'Beat For' is far from inferior. I'm a complete sucker for songs which use the bass line to carry the melody and its probably more dance floor ready.

Jamie xx - Beat For (limited vinyl & download out now - by Numbers

Oh, and did I mention that he's a south London boy?... :)

Far Nearer is available to buy now -

Gil Scott-Heron 'I'm New Here' on Spotify
Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx 'We're New Here' on Spotify

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