The much-lauded Jamie XX rework of Gil Scott-Heron's 2010 album I'm New Here finally arrives, and it's pretty darn good. In truth there's little quite as gorgeously ambitious as the strangely anthemic teaser single "NY Is Killing Me" (included here), but that doesn't stop it being an excellent listen. Not so much a set of remixes as a total reproduction, We're New Here places the veteran beat poet's distinctive vocals at the heart of a heady, other-worldly soup of eclectic beats (think dubstep, hip-hop and wonky house), booming basslines, sparkling house riffs, blissful melodies and paranoid late night atmospherics. A near perfect 33 minutes, all told.
Arriving in a fashion not dissimilar to the all encompassing deviations from Burial is "Far Nearer", the long awaited drop from The xx's Jamie - courtesy of the always on point Numbers imprint. Subject to many a YouTube appearance over the months, this charming steel drum infused summer jam can finally be enjoyed after potential sampling issues were circumnavigated by the smudged vocal that runs throughout being re-recorded. It's perhaps too twee and gentle to drop in the midst of a set, though it will certainly have the requisite effect should you deem to slip it in at the end! Complementing this, "Beat For" channels darker sounds, with off kilter drum drops at the core surrounded by gut punching sub bass undulations, bubbling sonics and pitched out vocals with punching throwback house riffs giving the track rhythmic impetus.
Following in the trend set out from their first album, The XX let their resident beatsmith take the reins for a couple of indulgences into more electronically-minded versions of cuts from Coexist. "Sunset" gets worked into a simmering house groove that comes on with a distinct post-punk vibe, all live, unpolished drums and prominent bass, while the vocals get brought raw and close in the mix. "Reconsider" gets into a stripped down, steppy groove played out on found sound percussion immaculately produced with staggering attention to detail, while the original structure of the track drifts in and out of focus as though shot through a dream-fuelled filter.
Crimea X - "Yev" (Prins Thomas Diskomiks remix) - (6:01) 122 BPM
Crimea X - "Dream Is Gone" (Prins Thomas Diskomiks remix) - (6:26) 122 BPM
Jagwar Ma - "Four" - (6:33) 129 BPM
Sandrien - "Haters" - (9:37) 126 BPM
By now, we should all know what to expect from both the Balance series and Danny Howells, namely slick, atmospheric, spine-tingling electronic music of both an uptempo and downbeat bent. This bumper digital version of his latest double CD mix features some exceptionally good tracks, from the exotic, psychedelic techno of Will Saul and October's rework of Michael Mayer's "Mantasy" and the evocative Balearic deep house of Joakim's "Another Light", to the dreamy fluidity of Matthias Voigt's remix of Ian Pooley's "I Got You", and the crystalline electronics and wide-eyed beauty of Maricopa's ambient delight "Neon Shoals". It is, then, a sizzling hot collection of evocative electronic music for dancers and dreamers. Don't sleep.
If you're going to release a remix album, you best make it interesting and worthwhile. That's certainly what Radiohead have done on TKOL RMX 1234567. Based on a series of seven acclaimed 12" singles, this 19-track release boasts contributions from some of electronic music's most forward-thinking contemporary talents. Supposedly handpicked by Thom Yorke himself, the presence of Pearson Sound, Shed, Modeselektor, Caribou, Mark Pritchard, Jamie XX and SBTRKT (whose anthemic version of "Lotus Flower" provides a fitting finale) demonstrate the band have more than a cursory grasp of who is doing good things right now. The end product sees widely varied reimaginations that veer between twisted underground techno, stargazing electronica, maudlin ambience and whatever this week's go to term for the UK bass cognoscenti is.
The "Jupiters" remixes are finally available on digital format and this time it's a strictly UK affair, with Happa and Jamie XX on remix duties! Happa's re-interpretation of "Jupiters" is a thumping beast of a track, where a startling bass drum churns its way across a militant percussion - violent hi-hats and snares all round, coated graciously by the most ominous synth stabs to have ever appeared on a Four Tet record! Jamie XX's take on "Lion" is a calmer, sub-heavy parade of swinging drums and mutating bass lines, growing in ferocity with every new bar.