Not long after - and probably even before - its release two weeks ago, Jamie xx's In Colour was rubbing people in both the right and wrong ways. Maybe it's true that any piece of art is always going to have its champions and its detractors - people who took one look at Marcel Duchamp's 'La Fuente' and said, "Are you sure, mate? It's a toilet." -- and perhaps that's due to the ultimately-subjective nature of art. As Sam Wolfson put it on The Guardian's music blog: It might be that we "just have to admit that different people like different things, and it's all subjective. I got into music journalism because I was sure that wasn't true. But here I am, telling you it's fine to hate Jamie xx and, gulp, that it's fine to like Sam Smith." Or something similar but a bit less fucking glib.

What Wolfson seems to go on to say, though, is that what some people (let's say, the folks at Bookmat and Resident Advisor) didn't like about the album was the very fact it seemed like it had the potential for a lot of people to like it -- that it was ready-packaged to be popular. There's a truth in that, I'm sure; there are as many 'everything is just awful'-type people on the internet as there are 'everything is just brilliant'-type people on the internet, but the mistake in that line of thinking is to assume that this kind of mindless anti-populism is the editorial line of the internet.

Breaking down The Quietus' Christian Eede's take on the record (by all accounts the most aggressively negative review) it seems there are two particular strands of offence. The first is that the album doesn't stay true to the roots in UK dance music and London nightlife it claims to take as a defining influence: "What is offered instead is a collection of sexless, sonically conservative tracks overwrought in bass and nostalgia, and largely void of personality - club music for the neoliberal age," to which Resident Advisor adds that "a good chunk of In Colour looks at rave history through a revisionist and overly sentimental lens...you'd think hardcore and jungle never had any grit, soul or edge." The second point, a derivative of the first, is that the album is "too tidy". Condensing these criticisms and taking them at their word, what we seem to have on our hands is a record that is sonically neat and idea-light.

This is, perhaps, unsurprising considering that Jamie Smith - whether as part of The xx or as Jamie xx - has always appeared to buy wholesale into minimalism. What's different now, though, is -- well -- everything else. In 2009, when The xx's first album was released, there were 18 million active twitter users, working out at what was then 3.8% of adult Internet users. As of March 2015, there were 288 million (that's 9.6% of Internet users) and social media, Facebook having well over a billion active accounts, has continued its period of exponential growth.

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"Failure to accept the Jamie xx record isn't a failure on behalf of critics to accept pop, but of the album to understand contemporary popular culture."

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Minimalism - the kind that The xx look to trade in - was an essential counter to the overpowering nature of a relatively new digital life of instant gratification: while we'd had MySpace before Facebook and Twitter, it was a static environment - if you wanted to know if anything had changed, you had to manually refresh. The comparative immediacy of the New Online was both beautiful and too much to bear. And, in context, the minimalist quality of the music on The xx wasn't minimalist at all -- it was wholly maximal in its focus on silence, on an in-betweenness that engulfed the listener in a current of nothing; of sensory depravation and wild anticipation. It was emblematic of and nostalgic for a time that had only recently been lost.

Fast forward to 2015, realign with the present, and that approach no longer seems viable: harking back to a golden age -- of music, of technology, of culture -- that now seems redundant. Pop isn't just what 'sounds nice' and is 'radio-friendly', it's all-encompassing, immediate and damn near suffocating in its prevalence. Pop is auto-erotic asphyxiation. And, while it isn't necessarily the duty of art to engage actively with the contemporary (does any art have a duty?), it isn't produced or consumed in a vacuum. Failure to accept the Jamie xx record isn't a failure on behalf of critics to accept pop, but of the album to understand contemporary popular culture.

Even though they're interspersed with straight-up bangers of the 'I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)' ilk - the tracks on In Colour are riding that same dark wave faux-foreboding; sure, it can be funky as old heck at times, and yeah it's great for dimly nodding your head along to at a barbecue while you struggle to eat corn in a way that isn't socially reprehensible or something. But it's neither representative of what it claims to represent nor particularly relevant to the culture. And this proves only truer when faced with work of artists like Holly Herndon.

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"This is life for the early digital migrant and the digital native generations: pure maximalism, condensed in the palm of your hand, reflected in sound."

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Herndon's Platform has been taken to task (by writers and the reliably and abjectly vacant commentariat) for, both, not breaking new ground and for being too ideas-focused (Herndon is a doctoral candidate at Stanford University, so forgive her if she has some ideas, yeah?). In terms of the first point, well, it's just plain wrong and anyone who tells you otherwise is nothing less than a Grade A Chump. But, while Platform is - track for track - one of the best and most interesting albums of the year so far, to take it on its own is not only near-misrepresentation but a criminal act of self-deprivation. The hyper-immersive aesthetics of her videos (Google ads you can't close) and her live show (from using the Facebook events page to live-write quasi-poetic mini-stories about audience members, to a street view style wormhole taking the audience from the mundane to the damn-right weird) are an equal partner to the sonic atmosphere of the Extreme Present, the Absolute Everything, that the music so clearly captures. And captures is the right word.

The clicks, ticks, crunches and other miscellaneous noises that swaddle Herndon's vocals and what would appear otherwise to be the main melodic lines aren't ephemeral - they're central; integral. How many tabs do you have open right now? How many apps sending push notifications, ads sounding off unwanted audio without your express permission, .gifs playing over and over until our extinction as a species and possibly after? And you do this for how many hours a day? I thought so. This is life for the early digital migrant and the digital native generations: pure maximalism, condensed in the palm of your hand, reflected in sound.

Though the onslaught of noise on Platform might seem too much, disorienting even, at first it soon becomes something more familiar, not alienating in its mechanical quality, but something tangibly close to the lived experience of 2015 in which technology is as real as anything else. While Platform and In Colour look to represent different things, the latter speaks in the language of nostalgia but, like Latin, which once colonised the world's cultures in much the same way, nostalgia is a dead language.

Karl Smith writes for the likes of Dazed, and is the Literary Editor of The Quietus. He tweets over here.