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We're New Here

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Feb. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: XL Recordings
  • ASIN: B004EC5IWA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,765 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

In February 2010, Gil Scott-Heron released I’m New Here, his first album in thirteen years. Produced by XL Recordings head Richard Russell during various studio sessions in New York, the album was enthusiastically received by fans and critics alike. Meanwhile, the last eighteen months have been meteoric for Jamie xx. His band The xx’s debut album (which Jamie produced) received huge acclaim, picking up 2010’s prestigious Mercury Music Prize, while Jamie garnered respect for his remixes (in particular of Florence & The Machine’s "You’ve Got The Love") and solo productions (forthcoming single "Far Nearer" on Numbers.
So what happens when one of the most exciting young producers around reworks one of the most acclaimed albums from a true legend? The result is Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx’s We’re New Here which sees Jamie xx remixing thirteen tracks from the original I’m New Here album sessions.

BBC Review

Remix albums are typically an opportunity to wring the final droplets of brilliance/money from a release by getting a cosy coterie to resuscitate old tracks. Rather than being manhandled by multiple greasy mitts, We're New Here benefits from the focused attention of one man only: Jamie Smith of The xx.

Scott-Heron’s original album of 2010, produced by XL head-honcho Richard Russell, let the poet’s crack-ravaged vocals do all the talking, lo-fi production hiding in the wings. Eschewing this, Smith uses Scott-Heron’s vocals as illustration to his industrial and innovative production. It’s his subtle, back-lit percussion which gives The xx their edge, and this album lets Smith turn things up a notch to create a bass-driven collection ready for a Funktion One.

Last year witnessed dubstep implode, but from its ashes an exhilarating selection of electronic music emerged. Chameleon-like, Smith assumes many of these styles, makes them his own, and produces a sonic snapshot of dancefloors across the UK. NY is Killing Me pays homage to the original movement, carrying the dark swagger of early Benga, whilst the clangourous and spare percussion of Home and My Cloud shares a sound channelled by Mount Kimbie and early James Blake. The thuggish UK Funky of Lil Silva is present in Running, before it gives way to the 8-bit sound Ikonika spearheaded. The tripped-up beats and ephemeral melodies of The Crutch feels like a relative of Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder family – but this is not just an onslaught of club tracks. Moments of lightness appear in interludes and the exceptional euphoric endnote, I’ll Take Care of You.

Just like the radio that switches between frequencies in the opening of Ur Soul and Mine, Smith’s use of sampling tunes the listener in and out of his musical predecessors. He rewires a personal musical canon into something utterly contemporary. As Scott-Heron says in an interlude: "The spirits are your parents, your bloodstream moving through you constantly, because they want you to live on and because they want to live on too, they are trying all the time to tell you s*** and if you just listen to yourself, you will hear them."

Those approaching this release as fans, exclusively, of either Scott-Heron or The xx might be at a loss, but this collection works on separate level. Whilst I'm New Here marked an introspective turn from Scott-Heron, this set offers a multi-layered retrospective of the music which bore and surrounds Jamie xx. It’s not merely a rehash of the original, but a cohesive, considered masterpiece in its own right. 

--Ele Beattie

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Just so there is no confusion I would like to confirm that I know very little about jazz and soul music but I have developed a taste for some of the excellent musicians creating this work such a GSH. However, I am a huge fan of the xx and their work and I believe that this is another masterpiece. I would not advise anybody looking for another haunting soul album to buy this as it is not and as expected hardcore listeners of soul will and have slammed this album but I think they have misunderstood its intention.

The superb juxtaposition of overlaying the fresh electronic beats with the fantastic voice of GSH has created a new genre of its own and it is a revolution. The album starts with less input from jamie but as it progresses the beats become more noticeable and the whole album feels like a journey through time.

This is a fantastic and I believe successful, attempt at combining two different ages of music into one. The experience of yesterday and the youth of today.

If you are looking for pure soul, don't buy. If you are looking for pop music, don't buy. If you want to hear the most contemporary and superb piece of art of the year then you've come to the right place.
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Format: Audio CD
Originally I was a little unsure if Heron's lush soul would be able to sit along side Jamie's techno beats and pretty little samples. However, I was proven wrong. Heron is given a new dynamic by XX's magic helping to create some of the most intense music I have heard all year. My only wonder is why hasn't this received more recognition?

Truly brilliant
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this album 3 months ago and am still listening now. I think the poor average comes from the disgruntled GSH fans who think it's a travesty. It is not. It is interesting music and an enjoyable listen. The beautiful, rich voice of GSH and quirky and sparky electronics hits the spot more often than not.

As for the negative comments about the image of Jamie xx posing in the same stance as GSH...well who'd have thought it, a potential pop star with an ego. At least that ego makes him take some risks. This risk is well worth a listen.

I am now off to buy the GSH original.
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Format: Audio CD
Think some reviews have missed the point here a little bit; it's not meant to sound like a new album from Gil Scott Heron or for that matter the xx. Instead it's a new sonic creation, some of which wouldn't sound out of place on the new Radiohead album. If you listen without preconceptions you might just agree with me that this is the best release of 2011 so far - truly modern sounding music not limited by genre.
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By Ollie on 6 July 2011
Format: Audio CD
One of the Best albums i have bought of 2011!, Highly recommended! Loads of different styles are incorporated into the album yet very smartly, The album its self feaures Gil Scott Heron on the vocals and Jamie XX from the XX doing all the Instrumentation. BUY IT!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Not quite what I expected. I was hoping for the music to be more low key and ambient, but uplifting, but found it too intrusive and hard. Relates poorly to the vocals I think. Not what I would have expected having got GSH's original album and the XX albums. Pity. But its not bad.
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Format: Audio CD
As of 15 May 2011, this album still has, rather unfairly I think, only 3 stars here on Amazon. This is not a 3-star album. It deserves 4 stars at least.

I think something has gone a bit wrong here - Perhaps this album should not have been released or marketed as 'Gil Scott Heron and Jamie xx'?

The problem is that loads of Gil Scott-Heron fans/snobs are mindlessly buying it and not 'getting' the dubstep/electronica bit, then reviewing it as 1 star. Unfortunately for them (but much to my pleasure), the dubstep/electronica bit really takes centre stage here. Don't get me wrong - I am not an 'XX' fan/snob! In fact, I think their first album was a bit over-rated. Thankfully, 'We're new here' only sounds like 'XX' on a couple of occasions (most notably in the last tune 'I'll take care of you').

I'm not entirely sure I would agree with people who say that this is some kind of ground-breaking, genre-defying masterpiece, but it's certainly a really good, compelling dubstep album which flows nicely. Chilled in some parts (like 'My Cloud'), then percussive and dance-y in others ('The Crutch' and 'NY is killing me'), with Scott-Heron's vocals lending themselves nicely to the story of the album as it unfolds.

My tastes in dubstep lean more towards deep/techy stuff like Scuba, Mount Kimbie and 2562, rather than in-your-face, basslines and MCs (ugh). So this album fits perfectly in my collection.

All in all, this album deserves a better score! Four stars? Actually, I think I'll give it five.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is superbly crafted. These two artists seem to fit well together for some reason. The music and words have a beautiful, tender atmosphere that Jamie XX does not trample all over. For me, he adds to the original. You should own both.
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