Our electronic music correspondent Noele Lusano reviews Jamie XX’s remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s latest album and Knowone LP001, a flashback to the golden age of dance music.
Gil Scott-Heron And Jamie XX — We’re New Here
Released by XL/Young Turks, Feb. 2011
Whether or not you’re familiar with or even interested in Gil Scott-Heron’s arid, rumbling spoken word and militant history, We’re New Here is one of the most compelling releases of late, where Scott-Heron’s 2010 release (the first in 16 years), I’m New Here, gets cut and diced by Jamie xx’s expert hand. One third of acclaimed British electronic act the xx, Jamie xx is the mind behind the band’s inventive use of samples, low-end frequencies and stark, potent melodies.
On We’re New Here his talents rise to meet the timeless orations and daydreaming reveries of Scott-Heron’s gravelly, seasoned inner monologue, and the result is a clever collision of sounds, eras and subject matter that’s somehow pinpointed a spectacularly new and exciting edge of dance music. While this record would sound at home up against FaltyDL, Sepalcure or any number of forward-thinking producers creating dance music on the more soulful side of things, this release stands alone in its innovation and sonic novelty, best evidenced by Jamie xx’s amazing rework of “NY Is Killing Me.”
Unknown Artist — Knowone LP001
Released by Knowone, Feb. 2011
Aggravatingly shrouded in white label mystique, Knowone LP001 harks back to the golden age of electronic music when the 00s were just a gleaming, distant notion, an idea to be mined. Equally romantic, timeless and spacious, Knowone LP001 so much evokes the spirit of mid-90s Reload and Global Communication with its stately synth loops and elegantly estranged vocal samples that it’d be easy enough to believe this is modern-day Mark Pritchard — put this in a set next to Pritchard’s “Heavy as Stone” and you’re good to go.
Rumor has it, though, that this particular unknown belongs to Brock van Wey, or one-man ambient act Bvdub — whatever the case, this is easily a contender for best long player of the year. While each respective track clocks in well over 10 minutes, there’s not a dull point on the record. Get it if you can find it.
~ By Noele Lusano