When The xx closed their Night + Day stand at Brixton Academy earlier this week, the band brought down the curtain on one of the most outstanding live events of recent years.
As a group, a cohesive entity, The xx seemed to hit renewed heights, their fluid, flexible live show bolstered by some jaw-dropping visuals
. Yet it was also their ability as curators that shone through. The band hand-picked their supporting cast, as well as overseeing after parties and cinema screenings around the venue.
Allowed to cast out their own universe, The xx underlined their status as one of the most powerful creative forces in the country.
Here, Clash writers pick out some of their favourite remixes of the group’s material…
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'Crystalised' (Dark Sky Remix)
Remember when people used to say that future garage was a thing? Well this was one of the good things to come out of that whole strange debacle: Dark Sky chopping those glassily seductive vocals to perfection and pairing them with bit of skippy drum work.
By keeping it relatively simple, the trio (this was before the departure of Carlo Anderson) let the source material really sing – not without adding their own characteristic twinkling synths and organ stabs to it first, mind. This is music for the melancholic dancefloor. (Will Pritchard)
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'Angels' (Synkro Remix)
In purely atmospheric terms, you couldn't hope for a much more apt pairing than The xx and Synkro – so adept as the latter was in the late noughties at building emotive masterpieces out of little more than chopped female vox, shuffling hats and a Reese bass.
This one's a roller that builds and builds to an inevitable tug-on-the-heartstrings conclusion. If the phrase 'what a beauty' hadn't been so successfully co-opted by football commentators describing goals, then it would make for a pretty apt description of this particular bit of remix work. (Will Pritchard)
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'Intro' vs. Halsey
The xx’s bold, beautiful debut album opener ‘Intro’ has been mashed with everyone from Biggy to Wretch 32 in recent times. But it’s honey-voiced electro-pop newbie Halsey that really brought the song to life. A recent YouTube mash-up of the track mixed with Halsey’s ‘Colors’ seems like a match made in emotive-pop heaven.
Jamie xx’s chunky, slinking beats, that haunting guitar line coupled with Halsey’s lyrics referencing everything from the 28 Club, pills and dope, give the song an even more haunting outcome. Monster mash indeed. (Clarke Geddes)
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'Angels' – Kygo Remix
The tropical house artist keeps close to the original in his remix of one of The xx’s most beloved tracks, adding in a sharper sense of rhythm, and tropical elements like bongos into the mix. Speeding it slightly up, Kygo still lets the essence of the track’s melodic momentum shine through. (Aurora Henni Krogh)
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'Sunset' – Jamie xx Remix
Though all the members of the trio are outstanding individuals, Jamie xx certainly is the most high profile one. Often adding The xx’s tracks into the repertoire of his solo project; Jamie xx takes on the material in a new, slightly different context.
His remix of ‘Sunset’ sees him add to the deep house style of the ethereal tune, layering in the 4×4 pulsating kick drum beat with a more complex production. The changes overall are minimal yet immensely effective. (Aurora Henni Krogh)
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'Chained' – LIAR Remix
Bringing a deeper aspect to the lofty feel captured in ‘Chained’, LIAR creates texture and movement within the soundscape. Still letting the original mystique and dream-like atmosphere shine through, he creates a sense of pace throughout the song, adding chain noises and repetition into the mix. (Aurora Henni Krogh)
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'Basic Space' (Pariah Remix)
Given the track title, it’s perhaps apt that Pariah’s take on The xx offers a superb exploration of space. Heavy on the echo chamber, Pariah’s skeletal, slate-grey re-work dwells in the murk of the wee small hours, all shadow, suggestion and flaked elements of the UK garage chassis.
Sunk deep in melancholy, the hallucinogenic vocal effects seem to smear the speakers with rainfall. Even after all this time it remains a stunning re-work. (Robin Murray)
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