Wednesday 23 Jul

Planting the seed

“We think about it as a team,” she said. “Watching so many bands for so long and standing in the audience, I was like, ‘I want to try that.’ After playing by yourself for so many years and seeing what level you can reach with so many musicians coming in, you pretty much have to.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Commercial rock

Center of the Universe Festival featuring Capital Cities, Young The Giant, AWOLNATION & more
Downtown Tulsa 

07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Mack truckin’

9 p.m. Friday 
Kamp’s Lounge 
1310 NW 25th St. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Chevy cruisin’

Chevy Woods with Kevin Gates & more
9 p.m. Sunday 
Vibe Night Club 
227 SW 25th St. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Rock steady

7 p.m. Saturday
Frontier City
11501 N. Interstate 35 Service Road
Free with park admission 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Eclectic · Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx...

Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx — We’re New Here

A remix album that competes too much with the original

Stephen Carradini March 10th, 2011

I loved the earthy sound of Gil Scott-Heron’s poetry-and-music album “I’m New Here,” but I disliked the coldness of The XX’s “xx.”


I was summarily confused when I found a remix of Scott-Heron’s work by Jamie xx (percussionist for the aforementioned band) on my desk.

In my opinion, The xx could stand to be remixed by Scott-Heron (adding some heart and soul), not the other way around.

Jamie xx makes Scott-Heron into his own personal sampling bank on "We're New Here" for a cold, electronic set of tunes that I dislike. The worst example of this is “NY Is Killing Me,” which takes an excellent tune and samples out various phrases like “Don’tyouDon’tyouDon’tyouDon’tyouDon’tyou” and “Killing me-me-me-me-me-me-me” before getting into a slightly longer bit of it 1:30 in.

I’m all for reinterpretation (especially to those who may not of heard of his work, as some of Scott-Heron’s older catalog is used), but this hardly makes sense to what the soul icon is about. There’s no way to parse out the importance of his words when he’s turned into a fragmented sample. The track isn’t bad, but it just doesn’t serve Scott-Heron’s work well.

But then again, this isn’t the first remix I’ve hated.

“The Crutch” pairs Scott-Heron’s words with a breakbeat, which makes no sense. “I’m New Here” is a total re-envisioning of his words, removing the folk guitar and throwing down a spiky electronic backdrop. Seeing as the man’s words were kept mostly intact, it passes as an understandable interpretation, but it doesn’t anywhere approach the power of the original.

The only tune here that truly succeeds is “Running,” which was a highlight of “I’m New Here,” too. The evocative words are paired to a rhythmic track that much more recalls hip-hop than DJ sets, and the pairing works incredibly well. It’s the only cut here that doesn’t beg to be compared to its former incarnation; the two can exist in their own spaces equally, because they are revealing different parts of the same work. It is not, as so many tunes are on this remix record, merely using Scott-Heron’s work, but repurposing it.

I am disappointed with “We’re New Here,” especially with the elegance of “I’m New Here” and Scott-Heron’s previous works powering it. At least there’s not a new version of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” That version, I guess, is being played out on our TVs. And maybe that’s a sign that times have changed, and that maybe Scott-Heron does need to be a sound bite played over electronics.

But I still don’t like it, even if Jamie xx is right.  —Stephen Carradini

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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