Can he just do that? You might have wondered, when you learned that Jamie xx (of The xx) had retooled the entirety of Gil Scott-Heron's wrenchingly personal, beautiful, elegiac I'm New Here (XL Recordings, 2010), and released it as We're New Here.
Jamie xx is great and everything, and he's made something interesting here, and it is presumably a tribute, but there's something gratingly cavalier about re-doing the whole thing, just one year after its original release. Too soon, Jamie xx?
But it's OK, because in a recent interview with Vulture, he explains how the project was so much more than riding the buzz wave created by a grizzled, troubled genius's first studio album in 16 years. Granted, they didn't really work together:
He didn't really direct any of it, he just had to approve everything because, obviously, it's his name.
But he knows about it, right?
...it was like, impossible to really sit down and talk to him about it...it wasn't like I was able to explain to him everything...
Actually, he's been sort of MIA lately, now that you mention it...
...he doesn't do e-mail...he's kind of a bit off the map again. He still needs to approve some of my music videos, and I can't get hold of him. We know where he lives, but we don't want to go and intrude. If he's not responding, there's a reason for it.
Well, anyway, XL Recordings said it was OK.
Read the full interview for more of Jamie xx's favorite things (Drake, Odd Future, wearing black, parties, Portishead). For more about We're New Here, wrap your head around this fascinating infographic cum album review by Andrew Kuo.