Jamie xx previews new ballet 'Tree of Codes'

It's a creation made from re-assembled, half-remembered fragments: ideal source material for Jamie xx.

Jonathan Safran Foer's novel "Tree of Codes" recasts sliced-up pieces of the Polish writer Bruno Schulz's book "Street of Crocodiles" into a whole new work of fiction. It's an act of creation made from re-assembled, half-remembered fragments and the ideal source material for a new project by electronic music producer Jamie xx.

Jamie xx's acclaimed new solo album "In Colour" evokes the bleary, sample-heavy moods of '90s UK rave culture from a producer too young to have seen it firsthand. Now he's applied that sensibility to a new ballet based on Foer's novel, to be performed at the Manchester International Festival on July 2.

Collaborators on the ballet include choreographer Wayne McGregor and visual artist Olafur Eliasson, with dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet and from McGregor's own company.

The festival just posted a trailer for the work, which features music from Jamie xx's score. The piece, centered around a solo piano, is sad and stark, but the circles of mirrored glass and raw industrial materials used in the set conjure up some of the same underground fantasia that "In Colour" evokes on record.

Jamie's band The xx spent much of last year playing to crowds capped at just 40 people during a long residency at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, and after playing some of the world's biggest stages they clearly have a renewed interest in the possibilities of intimate spaces.

Rarely does a 26-year-old producer simultaneously have a live date at the ballet and a universally adored summer-jam single featuring Young Thug and Popcaan, but we are glad to live in these times. 

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