It seems to me that “discovering” new music is a massively inconsistent process. Some weeks I find 100 great new tracks; some weeks I’m struggling to find one! I’d recently been through something of a barren patch, but I’m hoping this new discovery is the start of a purple patch – and the signs are looking good!
“Far Nearer” was first heard of on XFM about four months ago. I for one was hugely excited about the impending prospect of solo material from Jamie xx. However, it then got a bit lost in the excitement about We’re New Here. Fortunately, the track has been thrust back into the limelight with this awesome remix from Bristol’s Ollie Macfarlane. The reason I mentioned Bristol is that the city sculpts the sound to a certain extent. It’s a unique take on garage – the aftermath of trip-hop is very much evident – and I think it’s a sound that really works well with the Jamie xx original. This one just gets better every time I play it.
What I like is the way it takes “Far Nearer” from something pretty obscure – I’ll happily admit I’m in a minority liking the original – into something deeper, a far more accessible piece of music. There’s almost a hopeful undertone. I could see them playing this in a particularly moving moment of Skins, as they desperately clutch at the straws of “alternativeness” without wanting to alienate an audience who largely listen exclusively to the likes of the Black Eyed Peas. Hopefully this will be the start of some people’s garage odyssey – it’s not all just drum patterns, you know!