Live Review: Jamie XX, Four Tet

4 January 2016 | 12:25 pm | James Hunt

"Jamie courageously pulled off a sort of mini rave exhibition, assisted by an erratic escalation from the lightshow."

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A string of mild summery house music from the guys over at Pilerats served as an ideal and understated precursor for two of the scenes most prolific names. Gloriously ancient and winding trees speckled the amphitheatre steps, which generated a sort of dreamlike quality to them when accompanied with foggy purple lights and twinkling synth work.

Kieran Hebden, better known by his stage name Four Tet, has been ambitiously experimenting with electronic music since the last millennium, and has managed to produce one of the most consistent as well as versatile discographies in the scene. A subtle crescendo of modest arpeggios crept their way into grateful ears, indicating the start of a truly energizing and indelible performance. Borrowing only shyly from his own production pallet turned out to actually be a wise decision, making these scarce appearances like tiny precious gems to savour and appreciate all the more. Things took an unexpected turn when we were sucked into a sort of melodious oblivion; dulcet tones were chaotically replaced with lifeless drones, albeit temporarily, before musical timbres became detectable once more and all things slow and funky manifested.

This was without doubt an insightful and thoughtful move on Hebden’s behalf, paving the way for Jamie xx’s imminent DJ set, which never fail to encapsulate this groovy kind of ethos. Swaying and bopping playfully to The Units High Pressure Days signified the commencement of the British XX solo offshoot sensation, leading in to what was to be an oscillating experience of intensity and musical styles. The Avalanches Since I Left You served as a reverent nod to Australian electronic music, and when paired with giant, glistening disco balls made for quite an enchanting spectacle. With just 20 minutes to spare and an entire amphitheatre at his utterly entrancing mercy, Jamie courageously pulled off a sort of mini rave exhibition, assisted by an erratic escalation from the lightshow. Pausing teasingly was met with excited wails from a still desirous crowd, before 2015’s party vocal anthem I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) was unleashed to the inexhaustible thirst of the audience to craftily consolidate a purely enlivening set. The decade of earth years between the pair means nothing when it comes to their equal prominence and importance in the electronic music scene right now; and it’s simply an enjoyable but likely impossible endeavour to truly predict its trajectory even in the resolutely near future.