The news of Jamie xx’s first solo album prompted a profound excitement here at HD. There are few artists out there who can mesmerise you with the moody pop of the XX on the walk home then have you cutting a rug later to pretty much anything from grime to hardcore (Proof = here).
‘Loud Places’ is the latest single to be aired off his new album ‘In Colour’ due out on Young Turks June 1st. Here he finds a beautiful middle ground, using his production talent to showcase all sides of Romy’s voice from the melancholic to the euphoric. The attention to detail on production is noticable, first letting Romy’s distinctive voice do the work alongside a sparse bass drum before throwing everything from handclaps to vocal loops together towards the end. All in all, it’s a triumph, and an exciting prospect for the summer months.
The album tracklist includes some old friends in Romy and Oliver Sim, alongside the more unexpected faces of Jamaican Dancehall legend Popcaan and eccentric Atlanta rapper Young Thug. Here’s hoping for an all-star album tour over the summer.
“I wanted to make something I could play out when I got home that reminded people of how good home is.”
So says Jamie xx of his surprise new single, ‘All Under One Roof Raving’. It heavily samples British artist Mark Leckey’s 1999 documentary ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’, and you can hear the homesickness as he wrote it on tour with The xx: “Keepin’ it UK” as another sample proclaims. Add in his clipped percussion and steel pans and you’ve a UK classic.
New stuff from Jamie xx always makes us sit up in our bed with laptop propped up on our knees at our desk. This is no different.
‘Sleep Sound’ is one of a double-sided release coming up 5th May on, where else, Young Turks. It’s another late night, sensual jam; the xx but for an after-party rather than a romantic evening with your significant other/others.
For something a little longer, check out the Turks’ FBI Radio Takeover featuring Jamie, Four Tet, Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis and Sampha. Mouth-watering.
The xx! Everywhere! But that’s no bad thing.
Hot on the heels of their haunting Valentine’s Day cover of Beyoncé’s ‘I Miss You’ comes their take on the early noughties house classic ‘Finally’ by Kings of Tomorrow.
Don’t tell anyone, but we prefer the original:
Rinse DJ and serious selector DJ Oneman occasionally blesses us with one of his own productions and he’s uncorked a real one here, twisting The xx’s downbeat bedroom jam ‘Chained’ into a dancefloor-ready jackin’ house tune. That’s all you need to know really.
For a taste of Oneman’s selecting skills, check out a recent set he did for Young Turks down under:
Also, whilst we’re on The xx, the speedy amongst you can grab a free Jamie/Romy/Oliver EP, created for the iTunes’ 12 Days of Christmas giveaway, snappily called ‘The xxmas’. It’s worth it for the extended mix of ‘Sunset’ by Jamie xx, download it here.
Another close run thing this year, but we have settled on our top 10 tracks – which can all be found in our Best of 2015 playlist here. Enjoy.
1. DJ Koze – XTC: Our no. 1 track of 2015 goes to DJ Koze ‘XTC’. Our first reaction to this year’s chart-topper – released mid-summer on Pampa Records – was one of indifference, but hearing it played by Mano Le Tough and Dixon at Dekmantel forced us into a rapid rethink. We’ve always been a stickler for more melancholic dancefloor music, and ‘XTC’ fits right into that category. In a strong year for house and techno, ‘XTC’ was our unanimous first choice.
2. Fatima Yamaha – What’s A Girl To Do: The year’s most memorable hook was conjured up by (surprisingly) male, (surprisingly) Dutch producer Fatima Yamaha. Scarlett Johansson’s angsty vocal sample is the perfect counterpart to the instantly-recognisable tune, and the two combine to create 2015’s most atmospheric floor-filler.
3. Jamie XX – Gosh: Jamie xx has produced many moments of magic over the past couple of years. But alongside ‘All Under One Roof Raving’ (which appeared in our Top 10 of 2014), the harsh opening and lush crescendo of ‘Gosh’ stand out as a testament to the 27-year-old’s ability to craft music that is both accessible and affecting.
4. Bicep – Just: It was a superb year for the Belfast duo, including a relentlessly busy touring schedule, a residency at XOYO and a crate full of releases that attracted high praise all round. With its breakbeat beauty, ‘Just’ was easily the standout for us, and simple though it may be, it was one of our tunes of the year.
5. Percussions – Digital Arpeggios: In yet another big year for Four Tet, Kieran Hebden’s biggest track actually came under his Percussions moniker. First appearing as part of his Essential Mix with Jamie xx, it’s an epic slow-building masterpiece that made an impression on dancefloors across the globe.
6. Frankey & Sandrino – Acamar: 2015 was another hugely successful year for all-conquering Berlin label, Innervisions. Amongst the now annual event of head honcho Dixon being voted the world’s best DJ by the readers of Resident Advisor, and a series of ambitious parties across the globe, they also found time to release some music. ‘Acamar’, by German duo Frankey & Sandrino, first came to our attention at the turn of the year. It’s a testament to the tune’s brilliance that we’re still loving it 12 months on.
7. Hubie Davison – Sanctified: This disco-infused gem finally saw a vinyl-only release on Midland’s ReGraded label back in November. It’s a catchy number and there are no surprises that the label head has been rinsing it in his sets throughout the year.
8. Adam Port – E Sound Edit: This track was one of the highlights of our party at Basing House. The meandering guitar and shuffling percussion are a winning combination from Berlin producer Adam Port, and we look forward to hearing more from him in 2016.
9. Fort Romeau – All I Want (Massimiliano Pagliara Remix): Italian-born MassPag preps one of the highlights of Fort Romeau’s ‘Insides’ LP for the dancefloor. Be patient with this one and you will be rewarded. Out on the ever-glowing Ghostly International.
10. Lauer – Mausback: With its range of genres and nod to early eighties synth pop, Lauer’s ‘Borndom’ LP was one of our favourite albums of the year. ‘Mausback’ is one of its more balearic moments, and it shows clearly why the Tuff City Kids producer is one of Europe’s most underrated.