The success of The xx is a hard thing to understand. Their sound is so spacious it almost feels like a framework of something to come; a musical outline, if you will. Like someone took an album and stripped away 80% of its substance, leaving just the vocals, guitar, and occasional drum. It hardly exists at all. There’s never a moment while listening to The xx that I don’t worry it’s going to vanish into thin air; fade away like a whisper. And, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t even be able to tell it left at all. So, in a world of Kanye Wests, Lady Gagas, and Skrillexs, how does a groundless and dreamy group like The xx gather so much attention? Unfortunately, we don’t really have an answer to that. But who’s complaining?
The London trio released their highly anticipated sophomore LP — a follow up to 2009’s xx — earlier this month to astounding criticism. With production as hollow as their’s, remixes basically make themselves. But this isn’t necessarily a good thing. There are more botched xx renditions on the internet than I care to mention. But just last night, on BBC Radio 1, the best man for the job unveiled his effort at the album’s first single, “Angels.” The artist is Four Tet, of course, and his version is just as etherial, but with a gentle beat and a static-y breakdown halfway through, it encourages a bit more head-nodding than the original. Listen to the radio rip below.