SXSW Music: Jamie xx

London DJ spins undulating, sinuous soundscapes on real wax

Silhouetted by blinding neon lights, Jamie xx stationed himself behind two vinyl players – a novelty these days among DJs. Delving deep into a crate of wax throughout his nearly two-hour set Friday at YouTube’s Coppertank showcase, he gave both turntables a workout.

photo by John Leach

The London spinner opened with Eighties Bowie classic “Let’s Dance,” prodding an already rabid and earnest crowd. Bases also covered included the disco-fabulous Donna Summer and Radiohead. He put together a tapestry of English house, soul, and original compositions that lingered along undulating and sinuous soundscapes.

Never did the set give into bombastic EDM stereotypes. Instead, the main attraction stood somewhere under the haze of lights surveying the setting and crowd to determine his next play. From his original material, the Gil Scott-Heron-sampled We’re New Here and B-side singles “Far Nearer” and “Beat For” surprisingly made the cut.

He strayed away from playing the tracks in full, teasing out the melodies to segue into the next song without losing the set’s free-flow form. Jamie xx’s critically acclaimed solo debut In Colour snuck its way in with sweeping moments and clean samples. Any genre, whether dub, house, or throwback techno, was carefully layered into one mosaic.

Much like his band the xx, Jamie xx sticks with minimal productions. A pied piper need never change his tune.

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SXSW, SXSW Music 2016, Jamie XX, The xx, Donna Summer, David Bowie, Radiohead, Gil Scott-Heron

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