Of all the songs from The xx's excellent album I See You to remix for the dance-floor, "A Violent Noise" is, thematically, a funny choice. Sung mostly by Oliver Sim, it is about negatively losing yourself in the music, an escape where "every beat is a violent noise." The notion is mirrored by the music, while the band's low-end atmospheric production and glacial doomed echoes layer on the dread, it does so without truly following through on either of the chorus' warnings: There is no beat and there is no violence.
With a 126bpm groove that is at once leisurely and insistent, Four Tet (born Kieran Hebden) deeply backgrounds the original's looming shadow. Hebden is a long-time band collaborator and what original elements he does usually use when remixing The xx's music are there to accentuate its pop. Here, that would be the blend of the delay-heavy rave synths and Romy's picked electric guitar; but where these are unstable plates in The xx's version, Four Tet weaves the two lines into a hooky foundation. The mix is already chugging with excellent pace when, at about 3:45, an original, soft piano line appears, first playing melodic counterpoint and then, in the song's ascent towards a shoegaze-house-music crest, as another primary layer.
Who knows if any of these are clues to the next Four Tet album, which Hebden recently revealed he is "deep" in. But it certainly continues his winning streak with the remixes.
(Editorial aside: As great as we think Soundcloud is as a social music platform, the continued mishaps in their copyright-infringement policing has long ago turned into a comical aside. Hebden's attempts to post this remix being exhibit A, and the thread his experience inspired, including a rather egregious-if-true exhibit B.)