At this stage in his career, it’s rare to catch Jamie XX performing at anything less than a venue the scale of Alexandra Palace, or a headlining slot at a major festival. So it was all the more magic to catch him somewhere the intimately smaller size of The Cause in Tottenham. Saturday 19th October marked the fundraiser for the mental health charities The CALMzone and Mind, where Jamie XX appeared on the lineup among the likes of Park Hye Jin, Lutto Lento, Jean-Claude of If Music and Ade of Plastic People. With only a 400-strong capacity and the DJ booth encapsulated in a central cage, the 360° layout brought the whole party to the centre, giving everyone the sensation of a front row connection with the musician.That said, the small size of The Cause in no way led to smaller sound, and right from the beginning of Park Hye Jin’s set she had the walls shaking with bass-heavy, thumping beats and her own hypnotising vocals. It was dancefloor heaven, but to ensure variety for the crowd the Garage room provided an alternative throwback vibe, including a blacklight no less, and a mix of soulful, funky records. The tone was lighter, more laid back and allowed for a breather before plunging back into Hye Jin’s gritty and modern set. It’s not long before she drops a fantastic mix of Jamie XX’s ‘All Under One Roof Raving’, a track whose many silent sections usually make it difficult to deliver on a dance floor, but unsurprisingly around so many Jamie XX fans, it caused the main room to pack out immediately. As the track came to an end, her own anthem ‘IF U WANT IT’ blasts out its mesmerising, dissonant harmonies and Korean lyrics and leads us into the next section of the set.The BPM climbs higher as the techno kick of ‘Acid Milk’ by ‘I Am Bam’ descends, bringing with it a crowd-pleasing drop as the angular, rapid, blaring motif fires out of the speakers. Hye Jin returns to her own discography in stark contrast with ‘ABC’, as joyful, leisurely piano chords and melodies cast a ray of sunshine on the sound, lightening the mood before she drops in ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)’ and the crowd goes mental. Rounding off with ‘CALL ME’, the alternation of her own work and that of Jamie XX is the perfect way to introduce him, indirectly building hype around her own music, allowing those who have not yet discovered her work to hear it at its full potential.
Suddenly, it’s time for the headliner himself. Despite the crowd’s pre-emptive praise he settles in at the decks in serenity, as if the room were completely empty. Immediately, rapid fire beats burst out; assault rifle bullet drums, scattered vocal samples and the high pitches of a Güiro create a percussive introduction, which then breaks straight into jungle with DJ Crystl’s ‘Let It Roll.’ It’s chaotic, stuttered, and to amplify this the smoke and strobes begin to intensify. At the same BPM, the unmistakeable beat of ‘Gosh’ comes in, is slowed, and then dropped in all it’s glory. Four years after release, it’s still every bit as incredible. It’s followed by ‘Circulate’ by 2562, and Cx’s ‘Woooo Riddim’ brings in dark grittiness with the pedal note of a synthesiser over the top like a halo. The fluttering dissonant melodies have you lost in the spinning fog of the music with no way in or out.
As the set advances, Jamie drops ‘Gunshot’ by Champion to a resounding ‘woiii’ from the crowd. Baffled’s ‘Going On’ and ‘Work It’ by RIP Productions see this garage section continue, but the defining moment comes in the form of a track featuring the iconic sample from Kelly G’s ‘Bump-N-Go Mix’ of Tina Moore’s ‘Never Gonna Let You Go’, seen famously in Double 99’s ‘Rip Groove’, but this time unusually accompanied by soothing, ambient chords. The track builds up to a nice, subtle drop, creating a beautiful and emotive moment in the dusky set.
On the note of dark and dusky, excitement was rife when LesAlpx was dropped, giving a nod to Floating Points’ much-anticipated album release just the day before. It fit perfectly, in no way seeming forced, and was complimented by the similarly heavy ‘Frankfurt Main’ by Stimming. Four Tet’s remix of ‘Opal’ made yet another appearance, continuing to maintain its showstopper role over a year after release, and KiNK’s drum and bass mix of Krystal Klear’s Eurphoric Dreams provided one of the heaviest kicks of the night. Towards the final third of the set, we saw a change of direction, perhaps giving more reference to the vibe of the Garage room, with trumpet fanfares and anthems, notably ‘2000 Blacks Got To Be Free’ by Fela Kuti. Jamie XX has an eclecticism to his taste that goes off whether the crowd is a couple hundred or ten thousand, and paired with faultless mixing, it was a night that couldn’t go wrong.
Written by Louis Danckwerts
Edited by Alexander Szoryn