28 February 2011

Review: Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX 'We're New Here'

'We're New Here'
[XL/Young Turks]

We've every right to be dubious when labels pair up hip, young zeitgeist producers with respected, legendary older artists, particularly thanks to the recent release of a few disappointing collaborative efforts (did some mention Jack White and Wanda Jackson?). We're New Here is different. How? For a start, this is a remix album. Then there's the source material: living-legend Gil Scott-Heron's 2010 epic/comeback, I'm New Here. Young Jamie Smith (drummer/producer for world-conquering UK indie three-piece The XX) has completely reworked thirteen tracks from the original album sessions, placing Scott-Heron's disembodied vocals amongst pulsing, spidery soundscapes. While sounding excitingly modern, like Burial or James Blake, We're New Here is endearingly reverent, even adding a degree of warmth to the intentionally deep, dark originals. Smith also samples snatches of vocals from Scott-Heron's work in generations past, providing for some kind of deep, philosophical inter-generational link. Whatever. This is proper dance music, 2011-style.

4/5 stars

Review reprinted courtesy of Waikato Times

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