- Over the past two years Jamie XX has emerged from behind the shadows of his influential indie band The XX to take on several prominent DJ slots and remixes of artists like Adele and Gil Scott-Heron. There's been a dearth of original material from Smith, however. That's finally remedied by the long-delayed release of "Far Nearer" on Numbers, a well-rinsed 2010 dubplate to say the least.
To me, though, it's a bloodless, funkless, grooveless and completely sexless version of the UK's current spectrum of garage-indebted dance music. A somnambulant beat and an awkwardly butchered vocal sample floats in from the fog of hesitant and blurred chords. The unnecessary and bizarre pitch-shifting—also heard on his Adele remix—feels like an awkward attempt at what producers like Burial do so easily. The track's array of steel pan drums push it over the edge from innocuous hedging to disastrous misstep, the sound of someone attempting wide-eyed anthemia and crash-landing somewhere closer to limp-wristed anaemia.
The flipside "Beat For" is comparatively less ambitious, safer in its slightly sheltered execution of pumping house chords smoothed out to a hushed murmur, but boring all the same when its plain jane beat comes in and swallows everything else. These tracks really just don't do much at all, wafting by pleasantly with all the basic touchstones of this sort of "post-dubstep"—the sound of someone ticking all the boxes.
A Far Nearer
AA Beat For