Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx
We're New Here - XL
FILTER Grade: 73%
By Jonathan Falcone on April 4, 2011
Gil Scott-Heron’s influence on music is deep; Jamie xx is the composer behind the xx, a band whose influence could be just as significant if its current trajectory continues. There’s much here to commend, but it’s mostly the ideas as opposed to the resultant music. Simply put, Jamie xx writes the music and samples Scott-Heron’s words from 2010’s I’m New Here. There’s a happy marriage of Scott-Heron’s tough vocals—opening to warmth as he becomes an elder statesman of rap—and Jamie’s ice cavern sounds. Dubstep bass lines and vocal samples echo throughout, but nothing breaks genre conventions, something both acts have done individually. The most haunting moment comes briefly when Ben Raleigh and Bob Halley’s “That’s How Heartaches Are Made” opens “The Crutch” unfettered. While We’re New Here is spooky, it’s more chill-out mix than futuristic minimal-rave, and comes as a less interesting culture-clash than, say, The Dirtbombs doing covers of Detroit techno songs.