Album Review: Gil Scott-Heron And Jamie XX - We’re New Here (XL)
A cut above the usual remix malarkey, this is brave enough to make its source into something new
As a remixer, [a]Jamie xx[/a] seizes on the starkness of last year’s [b]‘I’m New Here’[/b], rhyming it with the language of space and bass pressure. Overcoming a laboured start – the woozy [b]‘Home’[/b] feels too respectful – Jamie coaxes fresh narratives from the source material. [b]‘NY Is Killing Me’[/b]’s paranoiac riff is built from a melody featured briefly on the original, while [b]‘Running’[/b] sees the poet neatly transformed into a King Midas Sound-esque MC-philosopher, his oaken ruminations mirrored by meditative, hoods-up halfstep.
Like Burial, Jamie deals with bass music that’s haunted and associative – sounds filtered through the gauze of a drug-withered memory – and it works best on the outstanding [b]‘Ur Soul And Mine’[/b]. Here, a phrase is looped until shorn of meaning, only to be answered amid stinging house stabs, conversely moving and humane. This is dance music’s banal universalism recast as deliverance, and it’s a highlight.
OK, so [b]‘We’re New Here’[/b] isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it showcases a producer so in love with the music of now that he not only preserves the power of his source material, but makes it more relevant.
Oh, and it’s a good remix album, too.
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