In January 2015, Jamie xx stepped aside from the mixing desk of his solitary studio bunker space in Old Street and decided that ‘In Colour’ was finished. It had been three years since he had began work on the first cut, ‘Girl’, that suggested he had a solo record in him. Both the title and carefully calibrated, vibrant accompanying imagery for the album are a deliberate delineation away from the chic monochromes that have marked his work with The xx. “I wouldn’t have called it ‘In Colour’ if the record had sounded dark”, he notes. When he began the project, not even knowing where it would take him, he was well aware of that possibility. “That could have happened.” Yet in his time in the band, Jamie has touched, if not exact extroversion, at least moments of private joy. This was the record, it seemed, to spell those out.
‘In Colour’ mirrors the special skill-set that has turned Jamie into one of the major draws at the sophisticated end of the global nightlife spectrum. Beginning with the bold, insistent rush of ‘Gosh’ the record sets out its magnificent stall early. Traces of break-beat and clipped techno can he heard in his countenance of its rhythm track. “It was supposed to be the final track on the record, in my head.” It was the last to be finished.
“It was much faster. Then I slowed it down by 20-30% and the beat sounded
harder, grittier somehow. The massive synth line began to kick against it and
I started to feel that moment of euphoria I’m always looking for when I’m
making music. That is the end goal.”
He says it doesn’t happen often. But when it does, he knows. Within the grand, reedy melody that builds midway through the track, Jamie seems to hit a tangent somewhere between rave’s blaring air-horns, a riff from an old, dusted-off New Romantic curiosity and the sweep and ballast of a classical string solo.
After finishing his work on The xx's first album Jamie began various side-projects, including fashioning a radical reworking of Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘I’m New Here’ album, remixing for Florence + The Machine and Adele and productions for Rihanna, Alicia Keys and Drake.