It's essentially a podium for Scott-Heron's remarkable voice, ever-wheezing and cracking, that both supports and condemns his life choices with its grippingly dark magnitude. Jamie Smith, percussionist and producer of the xx, has become a minor celebrity of the post-dubstep Brixton scene, earning a reputation as a DJ with his MPC mastery and as an ace remixer, crafting memorable, expansive edits of songs by Adele and Glasser in recent months. Smith, like many liners-scanning millennial sound nerds, is a massive Scott-Heron fan, and at Russell's suggestion has taken a stab at recontextualizing I'm New Here in service of changing sounds-- you can practically hear him cycling through subgenres track-to-track.
It's too dangerous to question either the necessity or the motivation behind such a project-- year-old wunderkind cinches cred with resurgent iconoclast, perhaps? Do your best to ignore the impulse, because the residue of death that lingers on I'm New Here is wiped clean from We're New Here.
It's replaced with brightness, an energy, and a historical milieu. Smith samples older Scott-Heron songs and works them into these newer songs. He takes a rare moment of singing, recorded for but not included on the initial album, and turns it into the Kieran Hebden-indebted "My Cloud", a gorgeous and redolent centerpiece. He turns a broken man into a recombinant diva. The song that proves Smith is truly a master of his craft is "Running", another track whose relationship with its original is largely incidental.
Fat, muffled beats play off against cut-up samples and a superbly woozy hook. The lack of urgency mirrors Scott-Heron's harsh assertion: there is no such thing as an "away" to run to.
Smith's parents introduced him to Scott-Heron's music when he was growing up. It was this sense of ownership, perhaps, that allowed Smith to plunder the troubled polemicist's 70s work as well as his recent output — a process that apparently required writing longhand letters by post to Scott-Heron for his blessing. Its thoroughly contemporary backing is both hydraulic and bucolic. But this sinuous record does not pass without regrets.
The revolution will be remixed. The Irish Times. Gil Scott-Heron to get the xx factor. The New York Times February Retrieved September 15, XLYT The A. Retrieved June 9, Archived from the original on February 24, BBC Online. The New York Times. Spin Media. Retrieved The Independent.
Muso's Guide. The National. MSN Music. Retrieved January 11, Archived from the original on Beggars Group USA. Piccadilly Records. Retrieved December 29, Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 18, Q March Archived from the original on February 5, The Wire. IPC Media Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 June UK Albums Chart. Official Charts Company. Gil Scott-Heron. We're New Here
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