By Jake Paterson, First Year English
Romance seeps through Jamie xx’s debut In Colour due to its grounding in the UK rave scene and ties to the xx’s delicate youth enthused guitar driven tracks. It remains still exploratory and new, and achieved something that had been brewing under the surface for many years without ever breaking through in full popular and critical acclaim: finding a stylistic intersection by putting out a dance record directly into the indie sphere.
I saw Jamie xx three times in the summer of 2021 across festivals along the south of England, rolling out the single ‘LET’S DO IT AGAIN’ in every set. It’s impact was somewhat lost amongst the mass of live sampling interspersed with original tracks, making it a surprise choice for a lead single (though I can’t say I was in the best physical state to make a good critical appreciation under the influence of festival conditions).
Hence memory became a crucial part on first listen, as the sample suggests, to repeat the elation of moving in a field after too long away last summer. ‘LET’S DO IT AGAIN’ grabs you by the neck of your shirt and throws you into a wall pulsing with sound, with each element refusing to show any sign of slowing to a stop - though much of the emotion and vulnerability still remains.
The standard house and techno beat is all but placed as insignificant underneath the grand production of the synths that scream ‘Sleep Song’ and ‘Hold Tight’ from his last project. As with much of his discography, ‘LET’S DO IT AGAIN’ could easily lay the atmosphere for the equality of a warehouse rave, or for yearning for greater things in a small bedroom or desk at the ASS at one o’clock in the morning.
With a seven-year gap between albums, it feels as if a lifetime of stylistic progression could have taken place, but what are presented with feels like Jamie xx as a fully formed institution – aware exactly of his position and impact in modern electronic and independent music today.
If In Colour was an opening intent, this is the first sign of a true realisation for a larger upcoming release hopefully in the near future.
Jamie xx plays the Forwards Festival on the Downs, September 3.
Featured image: XL Recordings
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