Idontknow by Jamie xx Review

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As a producer of subtle and almost calm dance music, Jamie xx balances the emotional acuity of his work with the xx against the discreet experimentation of solo outings like “Far Nearer” and “All Under One Roof Raving”. Five years after the strike In colour, he came back with “Idontknow”, a single which marks a new direction for the producer, but which still seems to lack the subtlety of his previous work.

The track opens with drums that would not ring in their place on a Fela Kuti side. Accelerating to 160 BPM, these rhythms and a synth bass line give impetus to the track. Loud voices – one high and melodic, the other a trance mantra – float along the sides. There are a lot of skills here, but the individual elements work against the tide, leading the trail to oscillate between creative exploration and bland skill. Jamie xx’s penchant for isolating drum sequences alleviates the effect of ambient synth pads floating in and out of the mix, and the convoluted outro, which attempts to merge all of these into an epic conclusion, seems almost nailed down. It’s as if Jamie xx wanted to renounce his reputation for tasteful minimalism, while proving that he could engage our emotions on a difficult club track. It is a skillful and daring attempt that never really comes true.

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