Song of the Summer? Jamie xx’s “All Under One Roof Raving”

“All Under One Roof Raving” by Jamie xx

Jonathan May

This summer has chosen dance as its musical medium, given the ubiquity of dance tracks and structures. I was fortunate enough to see The xx play at the New Daisy Theater in downtown Memphis earlier this year, and man, what a rush of beauty and polyphony! Of the two bandmates, Jamie xx works more independently than his cohort. Spinning at clubs and events all over the world appears to imbue his solo music with worldly energy, perhaps drawing from travels during their tour. Whatever the case, this track (put out June 2014) captures not only the evolution of The xx’s sound toward the steel drum and fluid dance movements, but also manages to incorporate samples in a natural and progressive manner. The song is essentially a love paean to the UK’s multistoried dance history and club scene; Jamie keeps it his own by leaving moments of “silence” throughout, allowing the ever-present steel drum to serve as the cool, collected backdrop to the additional layered beats and sound bites. “We were under one roof raving, laughing and joking” stands out as the eponymous line and also serves to bring a gestalt to the theme of the song: that music can make a community. Certainly the song evokes a Caribbean beach of the mind, underscoring the UK’s continual evolution in music as influenced by its broad Commonwealth reach, and by doing so, it allows us to appreciate the larger issues of transcendence the song itself describes. By pulling audio clips from club/scene kids and others, we get two kinds of primary exuberance: that of the firsthand account, and that of own our enjoyment (positing of course you enjoy quieter dance music with steel drums). This is definitely a track I’d like to hear quietly on the beach at night, with cold tequila in a glass.

Jonathan May watches too much television, but he’s just playing catch-up from a childhood spent in Zimbabwe. You can read his poetry at owenmay.com, follow him on Twitter at @jonowenmay, or email him at owen.may@gmail.com

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