The xx’s Night + Day Festival has been in full force in Brixton, London, with tons of their musician friends offering up DJ sets and parties during their seven-night run. On Monday night, XL Recordings owner Richard Russell came through with a show of his own, inviting his musical pals to help him serve up previews of his upcoming project, Everything Is Recorded. Sampha appears on two of those unreleased songs, including “Close But Not Quite” and the title track “Everything Is Recorded” (heard at 0:54, and 1:13, respectively).
The first track is a gentle jam, which also has Sampha on keys. It touches a note with your misunderstood side: “I feel like I don’t have the words / because I can’t speak,” Sampha sings longingly, hoping to find someone who will get it. “I’ve tried / I get close but not quite.” Soft piano chords and a steady beat seem to lull the singer’s frustrations to sleep as the track fades away. The song is inspired by a lyric in Curtis Mayfield’s “The Makings of You”: “These words I’m trying to recite / They’re close, but not quite,” Russell explains after the song ends.
While “Close But Not Quite” deals with insecurity, “Everything Is Recorded” takes on a slightly more cynical view of emotions — one where imperfections are glossed over and distortion is harder to find. The recorded version will feature string arrangements by Owen Pallett, but this live performance included a drum machine, keys and Sampha’s sweet vocals. “Everything’s recorded / and nothing is distortion / and deep beneath the surface / your apathy is worthless,” he sings.
Other featured players on Russell’s Everything Is Recorded include Giggs, Syd from The Internet, Wiki, Ibeyi and Obongjayar, who can be heard on a song called “She Said” at 1:08.
As far as The xx’s Night + Day Festival, tonight marks their sixth show. They’ve been joined by Robyn, Kelela, Floating Points, Cat Power and Savages’ singer Jehnny Beth.