Jamie Smith has been a busy man. Fresh from winning the Mercury prize with The xx, he has remixed a string of high profile artists, and even has a single forthcoming on Numbers records. But today there was a big reveal: he is remixing the entire of Gil Scott-Heron's album I'm New Here, (called We're New Here) with NY is Killing Me as the first glimpse.
The idea could really work well as Jamie's style requires great vocal samples to manipulate and contort into inhuman shapes, so the great range of emotions and tones of Gil Scott-Herons voice is ample ammunition for an album. NY is Killing Me is a great showcase Jamie Smiths' technique, the rough old-man vocals of Gil sound even more world weary when piercing through the clean half-time beat and throbbing bass; distinctly contrasting with the dark, dancey backdrop. For the first minute I was worried Jamie was afraid to distort the vocals out of respect, but soon a background pitch-shifted cry plays with the vocals, like distant conscience voices trying to be heard. And, as a whole, the repetitive beat and the echoey voice make it like and eerie dream, like half-remembering his tales in his corroded voice.
I am definitely excited to hear the whole album, which is released Feb next year.