If you were on the fence at all regarding The xx‘s second release Coexist, two things could push your opinion to the favoring side: experiencing them live, and absorbing this Sunset remix.
As performers, The xx have a successful live show down pat. I still can’t shake the stunning visuals and sonic precision I witnessed. As the closing act for this year’s remote and easily enjoyable Treasure Island Music Festival in the Bay Area, the UK minimal electro-pop trifecta (Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, producer Jamie XX) provided the tens of thousands of Treasure Island visitors with an aural climax to a weekend that included EMPT favorites like Tycho, Toro Y Moi, Divine Fits, and more. Who was headlining? The xx. Oh sure, there were doubts. You could hear comments in the air; people love the band but weren’t sure if they could pull off the climax that was needed to top off a weekend of high energy acts. The xx surely put to rest any trepidation, proving themselves a worthy headliner by blowing the crowd away. They were comfortably straddling the line between melancholy and energetic. Witnessing their interpretation of Sunset in a live setting was a reintroduction to a friend I’d met before, and I enjoyed the song’s company in a brand new context. Sometimes, it takes seeing the band communicate their song to you live to gain a full appreciation of it.
Then we have this entrapping remix. By spreading Jamie xx’s two-step beat over the majority of the composition including the empty spaces left behind by the original, Austin producers Libations & Oscillations prep Sunset for its venture onto the dance floor. Personally, I’d accept its industrial groove and would move willingly. Dropping modest new-age piano riffs and synth pads gently into the mix, they graduate it to a wider space, lifting it closer to the atmosphere just as Felix Baumgartner descends in the opposite direction.