Jamie xx

In Colour

Young Turks/XL

May 29, 2015 Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame Impala Bookmark and Share


While what made The xx so special was the trifecta of vocalist, bassist, and producer, it was the latter, Jamie Smith, who was always destined to take his skills elsewhere. His 2011 remix album with the late, great godfather of hip-hop Gil Scott-Heron proved Smith's capabilities away from the band format, channeling the best elements of the U.K. underground bass scene into a signature production style. Since then, the producer has drip-fed a ravenous fanbase one killer track at a time, teasing their insatiable appetite for his distinct steel drum melodies and earth-quaking beats.

In Colour was worth the wait. It represents the accumulation of the ideas formed from the aforementioned drip-feeding of tracks over the last six years, each one unique in its own right but undeniably of the same creator. What it proves more than anything, however, is the versatility of Jamie xx.

The album is a diverse palette of styles in which Smith has developed particular proficiencies. Opener, "Gosh," draws roots straight from classic U.K. Grime and Garage production, while "Sleep Sound" is characterised by Jon Hopkins-esque dancefloor futurism. In Colour also has a couple of little treats for xx fans, too. The xx's Romy Madley Croft pops up twice, her softly devastating vocals the perfect accompaniment to both club-ready tracks, while fellow xx member Oliver Sim also makes an appearance on "Stranger in a Room," which comes closer to the sound of the trio's day job than any other track on the album. And of course, it wouldn't be a Jamie xx record without his particular penchant for a steel-drum/bass collaboration, which he unleashes full-force on the cinematic "Obvs." Although each of the LP's 11 parts change genres and tempo at the drop of a hat, In Colour consistently feels cohesive and directed. It is not simply a collection of disparate electronic styles, but a portfolio of the full skill-set of one of Britain's best producers. (www.jamiexx.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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