Given that ‘We’re New Here’ is the first LP to bear Jamie xx’s name and the last Gil Scott-Heron was involved with during his lifetime (R.I.P.), there’s a strange sort of passing-of-the-baton going on here. This now rather seminal record saw Monsieur xx turning the beat-jazz balladeering of Scott-Heron’s ‘I’m New Here’ (2010) into a set of painterly post-dubstep tracks. Some of the bangers have become modern rave classics - ‘I’ll Take Care Of U’ was re-tooled by Drake and Rihanna while the frenetic ‘NY Is Killing Me’ still tears the club up to this day - but the downtempo, breakbeat and sampledelia numbers give ‘We’re New Here’ great range.
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OK, I haven't heard the original 'I'm New Here' album from which this is based so I'm reviewing this on its own terms. Ok with that? Good, let me begin. So for some reason the tapes from 'I'm New Here' were given to Jamie XX (who is in The XX) to play around with. What he's generally done is created late night dubbed out atmospheres and incorporate snippets of vocals within. At times it turns lighter and jazzier and soulful. Let's face it, this aint the most deep and dark dub you've ever heard, it's reasonably accomplished and shows a fine knowledge of the art of producing skittery beats influenced by the Moving Shadow brand of drum and bass. At times the vocals sit in perfectly, at others you wish for some instrumental moments, tracks like 'The Crutch' and 'Ur Soul and Mine' skitter along nicely without ever reaching the dizzy heights of your Burials etc. though the single 'NY is Killing Me' has some wondrous soundscapes and is the standout track. It's also closest to the eerie minimalism of The XX which is largely absent elsewhere. Overall a worthwhile experiment but how it will sound to those who are familiar with the parent album I'm not sure.
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