Thursday, August 14, 2014


The xx gave it all on the first date with the moody murmured minimalism of this crystalised collision.    The group began at the Elliott School in Putney, England as the boy-girl duo of childhood friends Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim.  They started out playing with a drum track; but when they asked fellow student Jamie Smith to use his DJ skills to improve their backing track, he ended up joining them. Another student Baria Qureshi joined on keyboards and the band came up with their name.  It wasn't until they'd left school that they met up with Young Turks label founder Caius Pawson, who became their manager and signed them.  Their eponymous debut was produced by Smith at XL Studios, North Kensington, London, England taking the homemade recordings that Sim and Croft made at night on their laptops and adding effects and beats.  With Romy Madley Croft on vocals and guitar;  Oliver Sim on vocals and bass;  Jamie Smith on beats, mixing, MPC, and production;  and Baria Qureshi on guitar and keyboards, 'xx' took over five months to finish.  

Smith admits:    "I was just discovering going out and DJing; I didn't really know that much about the technical things and what makes people dance. "

Madley-Croft muses:    "We bear everything in the music. And that's why we need to let it speak for itself rather than putting ourselves out there. It's in the artwork, too: You see the X, not a picture of us. We're happy to not be the face of it.  Oliver and I grew up together and then we met Jamie in secondary school. We've been together every day, most days, for a while, so it's not odd when we're together on tour. It's just how it is. I think being friends really helped us in making music as well. We can really speak our minds honestly. With someone new, they might do something, and we'd be like, "That's really good," but maybe we don't actually like it, and then we're listening back, like, "I wish we'd said something." That would never happen with us because we'd be like, "Wait, wait, wait-- I don't think that's right. Let's talk about it." We all love the music equally, and it's very much collaborative ... It always felt very comfortable and natural to be sort of sharing and collaging our lyrics.  We don't really have to explain to each other what we're singing about, because I already have such an emotional attachment to things Oliver is singing. It's in the same way that, with your favourite songs, you don't really want to know what the artist is writing about, because then you can put them into your own life, like, 'Oh, this is my song.' ... We made this record for ourselves - to try to make music that all of us would like." 

Sim says:   "This album was done with no expectations.  No one knew who we were. When I was writing the songs, I didn't think anyone other than Romy or James would ever actually hear them. Now I know so many people will…I might feel I have to be a bit more private ... We started writing the first album when we were 15 years old. I listen back to it and think, 'Are you really that dramatic?' I was writing from a different place, I was looking at other people's relationships and making my own stories. It was honest because it was still my feelings, just not necessarily my experiences." 

'xx' became an international underground sensation, pulsing to ninety-two in the US;  ninety-one in Canada;  seventy-three in Spain; fifty-four in Germany;  fifty-three in Switzerland; forty-one in Greece;  forty in Australia; thirty-nine in Sweden; thirty-five in France; thirty-two in Denmark; twenty-nine in the Netherlands; twenty-three in Norway;  fourteen in Ireland; thirteen in New Zealand; twelve in China; ten in Finland; nine on the US independent albums chart; five in Belgium; four in Scotland; three in the UK; and number one on the French digital album chart, on the Irish independent album chart, and on the UK indie albums chart.  In 2010, the album won the Mercury Prize.






Basic Space

full album:!/album/Xx/3417497

All lyrics written by Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim, except where noted. All music composed by Madley Croft, Sim, Jamie Smith and Baria Qureshi, except where noted.

1. "Intro"   2:07
2. "VCR"   2:57
3. "Crystalised"   3:21
4. "Islands"   2:40
5. "Heart Skipped a Beat"   4:02
6. "Fantasy" (lyrics by Sim) 2:38
7. "Shelter" (lyrics by Croft; music by Croft, Sim and Smith) 4:30
8. "Basic Space"   3:08
9. "Infinity"   5:13
10. "Night Time"   3:36
11. "Stars"   4:22

No comments:

Post a Comment