Blimey, it’s 7th March already. How did this HAPPEN etc? We’re a sixth of the way through twentyeleven and what have we done with our lives? We’ve had 66 days to let that gym membership go unused and take up smoking again and what have we learnt?
Lesson one: Jamie xx is quite clever on the old GarageBand, isn’t he? His Adele remix caused my friend Zara to dance so vigorously while she was washing up that she sliced her finger on a kitchen knife. If that ain’t a golden endorsement for a DJ, I don’t know what is. Anyway, the second single from his Gil Scott Heron remix album We’re New Here, ‘I’ll Take Care Of You‘, is unsurprisingly great. While he’s obviously got great respect for his source material, the label gave him free rein with the parts and so the only original part remaining is Scott Heron’s vocals. Here, he’s added some euphoric mid 1990s house-inspired piano hooks and infectious echoing guitar riffs, which doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does. Jamie’s stamp is all over it, but he’s created something alongside the original, rather than layering over it- no mean feat in the tricky field of remix albums.
A lesson to be learnt here, perhaps, for Erol Alkan, whose remix of Tame Impala’s ‘Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind?‘ is also out today. While Erol remixes will forever remain as much an integral part of my late teens as the Ed Banger roster and queuing to see 2manydjs, this leaves me a bit cold. It’s undeniably EA, but somehow doesn’t feel like he’s added anything, just some murky bass effects, and a tweaking of the hi hats. Perhaps I’m getting old, or perhaps this just doesn’t work.
Baths’s ‘The Nothing’ is out today too, on one of my very favourite labels, Anticon. AKA a 21 year-old California called Will Wiesenfeld, Baths pulls together complex multi-layered glitchy beats and instrumentation with fragile nursery rhyme vocals, if nursery rhymes went “All of the nothing that I do/And no fucking world view…I need to get out and find the love of my life”, that is. And so they should. There’d be something quite shoegaze-y about it, if only Kevin Shields had spent his formative years at Berghain or something.
So, we’ve got quite a lot of boys on laptops in 2011 so far it seems. I hope you’re keeping up, because we still have guitars too. Cloud Control have guitars, and a nice line in vocal harmony, and the lyrics to their new single ‘There’s Nothing In The Water’ contain the word ‘cowabunga’, which I can’t pretend not to approve of. It’s all quite Two Door Cinema Club, which is fine if you like that kind of thing.
We’ve got a harp too! This is the kind of thing I like, Bjork releasing a new single; or at least lending her singular vocals to Olof Arnalds’s track ‘Surrender‘. Minimal harp backing and the two voices in dramatic choral harmony is all this song needs to be truly amazing. Beautiful.
Oh – and The Wilhelm Scream by James Blake is out today too, but if there’s one thing we’ve definitely learnt this year, James Blake makes music and lots of people write about it.
(It’s great though.)