- 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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We're New Here
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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.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great for fans of electronic music. Listened to The XX and Jamie XX In Colour so decided to give this a go. Amazing.Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Truly, this is a delight for the ears. Rich production with real thought, wonderful musicality and variation of instrumentation.
A beautiful record.
Just picked this up for £2.00 in a junk shop! It is awesome...Published 19 months ago by K.H.Williamson
Awful pressing. Although still comes new & sealed, the vinyl is dirty with fingerprints. Very noisy - crackles and static all the way through. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Krists Hartmanis
Brand new, quick delivery no problem with packaging or with anything. Totally recommend the seller and the album is great!Published on 12 Nov. 2014 by paulo