It’s been three years since Jamie xx released his last solo EP ‘Far Nearer/Beat For’. His latest offering, the highly anticipated ‘Sleepsound’ goes to show that the age old mantra of “good things come to those who wait” rings true. This EP is Jamie xx at his best. He has left the steel drums behind that were prominent in ‘Far Nearer’ in favour of focussing upon his iconic slightly off beat loops.
The first track ‘Sleepsound’ maintains the characteristic hushed tones of his previous musical offerings. Upon listening to the track do not be surprised if you drift off into a trance like state. Jamie xx has the ability to transport the listener. There is a real sense of ebb and flow in this track, enhancing the trance like state that the listener can expect to find themselves in. It becomes apparent why he has chosen to call this track ‘Sleepsound’ as I found myself drifting off to sleep after multiple listens. Jamie’s talent as a producer is demonstrated in his ability to mask complexity with apparent simplicity. To the untrained ear ‘Sleepsound’ is a simple and pleasantly repetitive track that you can easily drift off to sleep to but upon further listens, the complex layering is revealed.
James Blake debuted the second track and for me the stronger track on the EP, ‘Girl’, on his Radio 1 show. It’s slick, subtle and undeniably cool. Once again Jamie uses his standard slightly off beat loops and hushed tones. There is something strangely euphoric about this track; it has an ethereal quality to the production. This track perfectly compliments and balances the slightly more sombre tones of ‘Sleepsound’.
‘Sleepsound’ really is a gem of an EP. It is perfect for hazy summer evening listening. Jamie xx is a wonderfully talented producer who clearly takes time and effort over each of his musical endeavours. He has carved himself an identity as a producer in his own right, separate from his work with The (superb) XX. While you can hear subtle similarities, this EP does not sound like the castoffs of The XX’s unwanted album tracks. The links between his two musical endeavours are tangible but not overwhelmingly obvious. Jamie xx once again has created a beautiful EP. It seems like this man can literally do no wrong.
‘Girl/Sleepsound’ is due for release on 5th May.