The Range is James Hinton’s project, in which he dives into the infinite space of YouTube, dragging out vocal samples and repurposing them as the centre of his euphoric electronic tracks. But don’t worry, the vocalists will get due recognition in an upcoming documentary, Superimpose. Potential is released by Domino.
9/10 Jamie Staff review, 22 March 2016
It has been a favourite on the Norman stereogram for what seems like an inordinate number of weeks, so I've been looking forward to getting my mitts on this album for some time now. James Hinton as The Range has been impressing us steadily over the years with his fingerprints all over both his productions and genre-spanning DJ sets. This will sound awesome on the Norman cans... With sweaty palms I'm about to press play on his Domino newie.
"Regular" opens up with a mission statement -- "Right now, I don't have a backup plan for if I don't make it but even if... I'll just decide to move on... to something bigger and better..." Parts of the vocal are repeated throughout, set against a rolling breakbeat and steady propulsive bass. Hinton has scoured the corners of YouTube for his contributors, and they all sound like stars in the making. There's a defiant air of optimism shining through -- a connecting theme for the record -- shot through with a steely determination even in times of uncertainty. The repeated phrase, "Everything's changed..." further underlines this awareness and resolve in next track "Copper Wire" with its staccato chops and ambience worthy of Burial complimented with breakbeats and Arca-ish claustrophobic atmosphere. The vocals throughout this album add a vital ingredient and provide emotional punch.
The production across all 11 tracks is so clean, so luminous.. a Four Tet-ish plucked and steel drum-punctuated "Florida" is next; the almost euphoric, slo-mo drum and bass flavour reverberating throughout coupled with another wonderful vocal, female this time, producing a gorgeous effect. The grit in these pearls is found in the textures and variety of Hinton's beats rubbing shoulders with a variety of effortless vocal performances. Piano and cut-up breaks with electronic ambience, propelled by a sinewy bass, cut swathes through "Superimpose". "Five Four" is yet another addictive track with fractured yet flowing rap winding through an ominous muted piano, scattered breakbeat and bass on "Five Four".
"No Loss" opens with plucked harp and ominous bass drone, paranoic yet angelic vocals and an ambient wash as violet as on the front cover of the representative sleeve. Breakbeats build and fill out the track. It is a thing of beauty. "Retune" has insistent pianos rising and cascading set against melodic bass, and those vital beats and yet another delicious cut-up vocal. So fresh. I don't know how Hinton produces this effect so consistently... a feeling of nervousness yet cautious optimism always pervading. There's barely a track I haven't attempted to analyse individually, but let's just say it's one hell of a smooth yet totally engaging ride. Exciting times, people.
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