Monday, September 10, 2012

the xx: "respectful, almost ethical... structural architecture"

Intriguing band...

NY Times article:


"Lowercase Minimalists"

-The New York Times By 

Not that you can tell from a quick glance. Mr. Smith and Mr. Sim got two small X’s on their inner wrists, and Ms. Croft, an X on each outer wrist. They are loyal, not ostentatious.
Such small gestures speak loudly, like most things in the xx universe. “Coexist” (Young Turks/XL), which will be released on Tuesday, is as insular and micro as ambitious pop music can be. The group has built its own idiosyncratic musical grammar, one in which each element stands on its own and commands attention, in gothic-electronic soul songs that are sometimes not much more than collections of hushes and gasps, brought together at an oozing pace.
This is music as structural architecture, like buildings at the steel girders and concrete phase, long before anyone picks out sink fixtures or doorknobs. And yet, what the xx makes is unmistakably pop music, even absent 95 percent of the usual component parts that would usually go into such a venture. Ms. Croft and Mr. Sim are slinky if chilly singers and songwriters, always aiming for the most efficient path to feeling. And Mr. Smith glues it all together, which is impressive, given how few elements he typically works with — trebly guitars that appear to be melting in real time, a spare four-on-the-floor beat, and that’s about it.
“It was an aesthetic that came out of the only way we knew how to make music, which was live,” Mr. Smith said last month, in the bar of the Bowery Hotel in the East Village, on a damp afternoon in between area concerts.
“There was only ever three or four things that could actually be going on at the same time,” he continued. “We didn’t want to add anything in the studio. If anything, in the studio we’re always just taking things away.”
The xx is all negative space, reminiscent of how some early Rick Rubin productions were billed as “reduced,” not produced. All the parts can be heard, nothing competes for attention.
It’s respectful, almost ethical. This is how friends treat one another, allowing one another to be heard. In person the band members are quiet and gentle, in keeping with...continued here

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