Published Mar 04, 2010Gil Scott-Heron and the XX aren't the likeliest of musical pairings; after all, the combined ages of the three members of the XX are barely equal to the legendary poet's 60 years. Despite this generational divide, the British dark pop trio have signed on to remix Scott-Heron's latest album, I'm New Here, which came out last month.
XX singer Romy Madley Croft discussed the project in an interview with BBC 6 Music, revealing that despite being labelled as an XX remix, it's actually the work of the band's beatmaker/producer Jamie Smith.
"The remixing side of things is very much Jamie," she said, explaining that neither she nor singer/bassist Oliver Sim have anything to do with the remix. "He's known as Jamie XX, so people just write the XX, but I can't take credit for all the work that he does. But I have heard some of it and it sounds brilliant."
Smith, who has reportedly been a fan of Scott-Heron since he was a child, said that it was his remix of Florence and the Machine's "You Got the Love" that helped get him the gig. This reworking impressed XL boss Richard Russell (the producer of I'm New Here), who recruited Smith to remix all of Scott-Heron's album.
Smith explained, "They just gave me the parts and let me do whatever I want, so I've been doing it on my laptop on tour." The musical accompaniment to Scott-Heron's poetry will be entirely original, as Smith said, "I'm am only using his vocals, I'm not using any of the original music from it, which is very freeing, especially as there is not much tones; it's just words rather than singing. So it's easy to fit other music around it."
Perhaps this project was inspired by criticisms of I'm New Here's bleak production style. In Exclaim!'s review of the album, we said that we "can't help wondering whether another producer might have executed it with more rhythmic flair ― maybe remixes will address this." Now we'll find out for sure.
The XX remix of I'm New Here doesn't currently have a release date, but look for more details to emerge in the coming months.
To read Exclaim!'s recent Timeline feature on Gil Scott-Heron, click here.