Jamie xx – In Colour

DNA: Art of Noise, New Order without vocals, Freeez, and Moby (techno period)

This is the best album of 2015, no exaggeration. At least in my universe, “In Colour” came onto the scene without fanfare. Jamie xx left us with an epic album, one that evokes a lot of emotion.

Jamie xx is Jamie Smith, a member of the indie brit pop band The xx. “In Colour” displays his massive talent as a music producer and DJ. The songs are lush soundscapes, which are made up of lo-fi beats, obscure samples, and wonderfully-placed keyboards and/or samples. The album’s sounds are engaging and hypnotic.

“In Colour” starts with “Gosh,” a wonderfully simple song that borrows from the rave scene of the early 90s. To say “Gosh” is a one-off rave song is a mistake; this song, like all the others on “In Colour,” touches your soul. Another personal favorite is “Girl,” which samples one of the best electronic songs in music history — Freeez’sI.O.U.” I read that Jamie xx enjoys sampling steel drums, and that’s evident in “Obvs.” He builds a beautiful song around several samples of steel-drum hooks.

Perhaps the album’s strongest song is “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times).” The song features Young Thug and Popcaan, who provide reggae-style vocals over a deep-bass drum sample and a vocal sample from which the song’s title borrows. “Hold Tight” is my favorite song on the album because it continually builds throughout the length of the song and creates a beautiful soundscape based on not much of anything. “Loud Places” mixes electronica with gospel, creating a song from another world.

This album is going to surprise you. The more you listen to it, the more you’ll understand that Jamie xx created a masterpiece. Hopefully this album will win a Grammy for best Dance/Electronic Album; it’s that good.

On a scale from Doc Bricker (“Forget It”) to Captain Merrill Stubing (“Get It”), “In Colour” is a 10 Captain Merrill Stubing.

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