After logging some 10 years with UK outfit The xx, resident producer Jamie Smith, better known as Jamie xx, decided to strike out on his own. Fans hoping for more moody, minimalistic numbers like those found on The xx’s 2009 self-titled album or 2012’s Coexist were immediately caught off-guard: Smith’s music was another kind of beast, one that lived and breathed on the dance floor and whose emotional core pumped blood at a much faster rate.
It wasn’t long before listeners realized that Smith possessed a sound palette far beyond what he’d exhibited as a member of the English trio. Sure, there were hints of his penchants for ambient and shadowy textures strewn throughout a number of The xx songs like “Intro,” “Chained” and “Islands,” but the English beatmaker, under the Jamie xx moniker, was now taking those experiments to a different level, incorporating them into everything from post-dubstep to house to trip-hop to soul. To judge him solely on his past work would have been like allowing museum goers to view only one half of a Picasso; the full scope of Smith’s artistry is only complete when his solo work is also considered.
This week, Jamie xx’s solo career reaches a milestone in the form of In Colour, his full-length solo debut and a record chock-full of sobering electronic spells, rave-ready anthems, meditative jams, and more. (“Gosh” alone is seriously worth a million and one “oh my gosh” exclamation points.) It’s not only an album that officially announces his arrival into the world, but, come December, could quite possibly be one of the serious contenders for best album of 2015. Like many of his previous one-off singles, the record proves his inventiveness and ability to make the familiar… unfamiliar; the old-school… fresh; the tired… exciting.
To celebrate Jamie xx’s willingness to do more, push boundaries, and reimagine stories that have already been told, we’ve listed a handful of choice remixes he’s done over the years, including ones for Radiohead, Adele, Florence + The Machine, and his own band, The xx. They not only show off his reworking chops, but also demonstrate his creative fearlessness when it comes to tackling various genres and high-profile acts.