James Hinton’s new LP surveys the hidden corners of YouTube for a profoundly personal document of hope and vulnerability.
In case you weren’t already familiar with James Hinton, he’s the Brooklyn-based producer who records as The Range, and this week debuts on indie giants Domino for his thrilling second LP, Potential. Having started his foray into electronic production in 2011, Hinton melded regional stateside sounds like footwork and Baltimore club with ’90s R&B, jungle and grime for a number of records on Brighton imprint Donky Pitch.
Out this Friday March 25, the Potential sees The Range scour YouTube to unearth strikingly personal uploads from budding MCs and singers, which are then chopped up and weaved into the album’s tracks. Not content with acting as a mere voyeur, Hinton reached out to each of his contributors, and in fact signed them to a part of his publishing on the LP.
For an idea of what to expect from the album check the video for ‘Copper Wire’, which features west London rapper Kruddy Zak, who’s quick 2011 freestyle was the original vocal source. Or perhaps the rapturous ‘Florida’, which incorporates singing taken from this home recording cover of Ariana Grande from Kai. Potential also has an accompanying Daniel Kaufman directed documentary – Superimpose – out in spring, which will explore the human stories behind the artists featured on the album.
Speaking on the sample sourcing process, and on the reason behind his approach Hinton says in a press release:
“I found each person by using a small set of search terms on YouTube. Each song is inextricably linked to the point in time that I came across each video. I endeavoured to tie the songs of Potential together by telling my own story alongside the stories of the people I sampled. Every song tries to acknowledge a sense of vulnerability or difficulty in life, as well as an intense drive to cope with problems in ways that don’t drag you into the abyss.”
Hinton takes a more reflective approach to online ventures on his YouTube Session, returning to the songs he would obsess over as a young drummer – including those from Aphex Twin and Squarepusher – and some personally nostalgic cuts from the likes of Mogwai and Fridge. Happy surfing…
1. Sigur Ros – Untitled 8
Lately I have been finding myself going back to a lot of songs that I used to practice drums to back when I was younger, so a lot of these songs are reflective of that time frame. I think what strikes me about these songs is how much they were aiming for pure moments and would spend what feels like an unbelievable amount of time by modern independent music standards reaching for them, which I have been really appreciating lately. I must have spent a good three months straight in high school coming straight home to play to this one!
2. Mogwai – I Know You Are, But What Am I?
I have very distinct memories of staying up really late listening to this song over and over again when I was little, I love the bare piano against the cut up drums when they come in.
3. Mono – Moonlight
Probably one of the best bands to come out of this period – I think they are capable of some really extreme density dynamics.
4. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Sleep
I unsurprisingly was really obsessed with this album as soon as I heard of it, as I think a lot of my peers were. It had a massive effect on me – I think it was a major reason I wanted to get better at recording and learn how to mix more tracks as I was butting up against the track limit on my piece of gear at the time.
5. Do Make Say Think – Goodbye Enemy Airship
I have a soft spot for these guys too, I remember taking a whole weekend trying everything I could think of to get my snare drum to sound like the one in this song.
6. The Books – An Owl With Knees
The Lemon of Pink and Lost and Safe were really critical albums looking back, as they were the first time I think I put two and two together about being able to edit acoustic instruments in software like that (I grew up in a really, really rural area). This moment at 1:56 is still absolutely brilliant to me, the editing is so specific but feels so right.
7. Fridge – Harmonics
I came to Fridge by way of Four Tet, and I have fond memories of walking around with my first iPod listening to this song in the woods after school.
8. Boards of Canada – Smokes Quantity
I think similar to the Godspeed album I mentioned earlier this record was really important to a lot of people at that time. I remember my head being blown off by how different this album sounded to anything else at the time.
9. Aphex Twin – 4
This one was a pure challenge on the drums – I remember celebrating the first time I was able to make it through playing along to this. I’m sure I was getting about 10% of the notes but it was so much fun to play along to!
10. Squarepusher – Theme From Ernest Borgnine
This Squarepusher song was another one that I used to attempt to keep up with on the drums, but I still think besides maybe Port Rhombus, it’s my favourite song of his ever – such an immaculate build to me.
Potential is out March 25 on Domino. Pre-order it here.
Featured image: Alexandra Gavillet