If you weren’t aware, the artist group known as The xx has a brilliant producer behind their soft and emotional constructions – Jamie xx.
Relegated to the background for most of his early career with the group, Jamie xx has burst forth in recent years to wild, mass acclaim. He performed at Coachella this year for a nearly packed Mojave tent and anyone who was there can tell you that his gorgeous blend of downtempo and ambient sounds made for a one-of-a-kind experience.
And now today, Jamie xx has released his debut album In Colour. While some critics have panned it as “accessible pop for the downtempo era”, others like Pitchfork gave the album glowing praise and a 9.3/10 rating. As always, music is a subjective and often divisive medium, but I find myself really loving this album.
Spanning a mere 42 minutes and 11 tracks, Jamie xx uses his skills in a band to create a complete and full-bodied musical experience. He even enlists fellow The xx bandmates on a couple tracks, “Stranger in a Room” features Oliver Sim, and “Seesaw” and “Loud Places” feature Romy. As Pitchfork notes, Jamie “straddles the line between ‘song’ and ‘track'” in a particularly magnificent fashion.
As far as the tracks themselves, there really isn’t a single way to describe them. While most of the album carries the feeling of downtempo/ambient, tracks like “Hold Tight” and “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” vigorously fight off that label. Opening an album with such a unique and unabashed tune like “Gosh” is brave, but the progressive nature of the track and how it builds upon itself is a testament to how the entire album was constructed.
In all seriousness, this is a contender for AOTY. It’s a wondrously constructed and vastly creative album that any music fan, regardless of what your favorite genre is, should examine. And trust me on that – my first love is drum & bass.
Order your own copy of In Colour here.