What can we even say about Jamie Smith at this point? Besides guiding The xx’s sophomore LP and producing for the likes of Drake and Alicia Keys, Sir Jamie (he’s a Knight in our book) has somehow found the time to hone his disc jockeying acumen. Laying down a 54 minute set at last night’s Young Turks/Boiler Room event, Jamie not only demonstrated flawless song selection and sonic progression, but improved mixing ability. After opening with what is presumably his own remix of Coexist bonus cut “Reconsider”, Jamie continues on to match the beatific qualities inherent in his The xx material with the heavier techno he’s been known to play out in live sets. It’s not an easy balance to attain, but Smith handles it with aplomb, brightening and darkening the mood effortlessly. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes a great mix, but whether you exemplary mixing ability or protean song selection, Smith has you covered. Stream and download below.
The below quote in from David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello’s Signifying Rappers, a discussion on hip hop and race, as well as a thorough criticism of rapidly changing, turn of the century media forms. I felt it was probably more worthwhile than the brief commentary I was going to plaster here instead.
You may now be getting some hazy idea of the sorts of really quite scary possibilities with which the rap we like is replete. And, hazier, of how complicated this stuff of sampler-from-outside can be. What’s remained passing strange, for use, is the vague threat’s appeal. The unease and ambivalence with which the rare white at the window loves rap renders that love no less love. Whence the fear, though, is really no matter. For look at the world, at the masses we’re part of. At what you look at closest. The plain 80s data is that, whereas love, devotion, passion seem only to divide, it’s fear and strangeness that bind crowds, fill halls, unite Us, somehow, as audience, under the great tent.
In which The xx beat machine/mastermind devolves Four Tet’s fellow Elliot School alumnus Four Tet’s most straight-forward track to date into a puddle of floating dub madness. Jamie Smith’s remix of “Lion” might as well be three songs as it jumps tempos drastically every two minutes or so. The one consistent factor is a writhing low end that never ceases even at the remix’s most docile moments. If Smith has proven anything in his solo work, it’s a mastery of emotion through bass. Some might call this simple, but Smith has always maintained an intended minimalism about his music. This remix actually reminds me of Pinch & Shackleton’s self-tltled 2011 album in its balance between heavy atmospherics and a steady beat. Stream below and pray to the Halloween gods that these two will collaborate in the near future.
We first heard it on his seminal Essential Mix last August and it is now available to the masses in its full, unadulterated brilliance. Just another edit from the driving force behind the best pop act in the world. A song that brings to mind a tropical beach as much as it does an obfuscated dream world, Jamie’s edit of Holly Miranda’s (who also owns a spot on XL’s roster) “Slow Burn Treason” is an exhibition in half-step percussion mastery. Imagine some young whomp-enthusiasts (no hate) finding out that Jamie used essentially the same format for “Slow Burn Treason” as their beloved Skrallex’s? High comedy. Anyways, Jamie strings Miranda and Kyp Malone’s (of TV On The Radio) ethereal vocals into a deeply orchestral territory, all the while avoiding the bombast that is usually associated with orchestra strings. it also sounds vaguely tropical, which is utterly perplexing to me. Whereas “Far Nearer” utilized steel drums to develop an overtly tropical sound, “Slow Burn Treason” reaches the surf without any (to my knowledge) instruments, samples or effects that could evoke sandy beaches or palm trees. This man’s ceiling has no limit. Look out for The xx’s Coexist on September 10 and cross your fingers for some sort of full length from the ever precocious Jamie.