The xx’s debut was a cavernous, shadowy exploration of what it means to be young, sad, and sexy. It was one of those records that ends up on repeat for months and evolves the more you listen to it. Until now, Jamie xx’s solo music has existed in largely the same realm. The excellent remix album We’re Here cloaked Gil Scott-Heron in grim post-dubstep murk. But with “Far Nearer,” Jamie xx takes a vacation from the gloom—quite literally. Instead of late-night desperation, we get tropical steel drums and a DayGlo vocal loop. Maybe this is a product of The xx’s recent tour with the Belearic pop duo jj. Whatever the case, Jamie xx’s new mojito-driven limbostep works insanely well. If there is one thing that “Far Nearer” does have in common with Jamie xx’s old work, it’s the use of empty space to create drama . Even as the island rhythm bounces playfully, it is the negative space that holds everything together.
Jamie xx—Far Nearer / Beat For single
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