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  • Filed under: Review
  • 05/17/2012

Giraffage & XXYYXX Even Though EP

Giraffage and XXYYXX are two young guns whose names seem to be rising in parallel from the current crop of Stateside bedroom producers. "Even Though" finds them working together for the first time, combining cross-sections of modern hip-hop and R&B along with the more neon side of UK bass music. As it turns out, the resulting collaborative effort is surely the best thing to come from either of their growing catalogs.

There's not much in the way of surprises on "Even Though." The song comes complete with the usual suspects—side-chained chords (some fuzzy, some filtered), swirling melodies, skittering hats and snares, tuned toms, and, of course, chopped female vocals. True, these elements have begun to verge on predictable (if not just straight up played out) in recent months, but "Even Though" proves able to find plenty of life left in the world of soulful, R&B-indebted beats. The tune is held up largely by the strength of its musical make-up, with a set of chords and melodies that are incredibly catchy and distinctly memorable, combining the bluesy sweetness of James Blake (circa "CMYK") with touches of pop-infused bass music not too far off from the similarly young pair Disclosure. Everything appears to be constructed with the utmost detail in this production. No snare roll, stuttering kick, tuned vocal gasp, or pumping bass note is out of place; all of the elements are moving amongst each other in individually intricate patterns. Somehow, it all still yields a precise and cohesive track.

The original "Even Though," by and large, eclipses the efforts of its remixers. Canadian chillwave champion Teen Daze manages to round out the edges of the tune, fitting it into a four-on-the-floor context while leaving much of the original's warmth intact. One AM Radio makes a surprising appearance, reworking the song into a floaty, summer-tinged slice of the friendliest boom-bap. Irishman REID's remix does stand out a bit above the rest, taking "Even Though" to a place between hazy, filtered house and crispy bedroom beats.

In the end, "Even Though" is a fun, solid tune, strong enough to stand on its own. And while the remixers' efforts are valiant, they really don't equate to much. Your iTunes would be better served simply housing the original track, and saving space for whatever its pair of young creators come up with next, individually or collaboratively.

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