Jamie xx: In Colour (XL)

 |   |  1 min read

Jamie xx: The Rest is Noise
Jamie xx: In Colour (XL)

This debut solo album by the boffin behind The xx (and an influential and innovative remixer) joins a number of very intersting dots in British dance and ambient pop of the past few decades.

Few "dance" albums would dare place a lowkey piece entitled Sleep Sound -- a horizontally laidback piece with a subtle sample from the Four Freshmen -- second up, but this is an album where risks are taken, the ear is diverted into new but oddly familiar areas (Loud Places ) and the whole is effortlessly greater than the sum of its many parts.

Unless you check the small print you wouldn't really know that among the many samples are pieces from Hugh Masekela, the Persuasions (how retro is that?), Freeeze, The Whitest Boy Alive and more. But they are so deftly threaded through the breakbeats and vocals by Romy Madley Croft (from The xx) that they simply form part of the aural tapestry.

At the midpoint is a standout: the unsettling Stranger in a Room featuring xx singer Oliver Sim who brings a cool dyspepsia over a soundbed that is both enticingly warm and yet disconcerting. It leads neatly into the space-ambience opening overs of the increasingly urgent Hold Tight.

And the upward trajectory of the album is evident from there on with Romy again on the upbeat clubland handclap-then-quiet of Loud Places, the hip-hop direction of I Know There's Gonna Be Good Times . . .  

For the first half however In Colour is like dialed-down Flying Lotus or ethereal Portishead, less about dance than the notion of dance, announcing itself as a scrupulously polite album as much for when you are preparing dinner as hosting a dinner party.

By the final third a few bottles have been emptied, plates cleared away and the chairs pushed back for a quarter hour of those good times, before someone suggests another glass or two and . . . 

Very clever. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune (Sony)

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune (Sony)

The old joke -- usually applied to the death of Elvis -- is “good career move”. Death sells, just ask -- if you could -- Elvis, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Otis Redding, John Lennon... > Read more

Port O'Brien: Threadbare (Dew Process/Isaac)

Port O'Brien: Threadbare (Dew Process/Isaac)

I have been to pretty, but pretty dull Cambria in California where the core of this group hail from and I can understand why they might want to take to the road. They did and seem to have spent... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . .  BERT JANSCH: The most reluctant hero

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . BERT JANSCH: The most reluctant hero

Few musicians have recoiled from the glare of fame as assiduously as British guitarist and singer Bert Jansch. This solo artist and founder member of the seminal UK folk group Pentangle... > Read more

THE ESSENTIAL SPIKE MILLIGAN complied by ALEXANDER GAMES

THE ESSENTIAL SPIKE MILLIGAN complied by ALEXANDER GAMES

On New Zealand's national Poetry Day in 2004 a television news team buttonholed people on the street and asked them to recite a piece of poetry. One guy did an impromptu local variant of Spike... > Read more