Boomkat Product Review:
Loraine James lets her influences run wild on her third Hyperdub volume, sampling DNTEL, Telefon Tel Aviv and Lusine on tracks that dig into her emotional core. Featuring guest appearances from Marina Herlop, keiyaA, Corey Mastrangelo, Eden Samara, George Riley and Contour.
The first taste we had of 'Gentle Confrontation' was '2003', the album's most personal track - a sombre, beatless memorial that drapes James' newly confident vocals over a bed of dreamy oohs and ahhs. "It's about my dad who passed away 20 years ago," she revealed on Twitter, "and my mum being the best parent ever." The track sets the pace for a charged set she says she should have written as a teenager, with its source material reflecting that time in her life. As anyone who's dug into her back catalog before - from her acclaimed 'Reflection' and 'For You and I' full-lengths to her hazier gear as Whatever The Weather - will already know, her earliest musical passions were early noughties emotronica and math rock. So on tracks like 'Glitch the System (Glitch Bitch 2)' and the sardonically titled 'I DM U', James casts her mind back to material from her teenage heroes like DNTEL, Baths and Lusine, capturing their ethereal shimmer while redirecting the mood with contemporary twists and turns.
On DNTEL's 2001 album 'Life is Full of Possibilities', he worked with vocalists like Mia Doi Todd, Meredith Figurine and Deathcab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, inadvertently setting the pace for a deluge of albums that followed. James continues the thought, weaving similar structures but adding fresher voices, like NYC-based keiyaA, whose characteristic tones lift 'Let U Go' into the heavens, soaring over James' syncopated, Telefon-sampling rattle. PAN's Marina Herlop whispers sweet nothings on 'While They Were Singing', turning her voice into a choir to offer an emotional counter to James' Merck-ish skittering percussion and calming sine tones, while Eden Samara follows her memorable performance on 'Reflection' with the poppy 'Try For Me'. On 'I'm Trying to Love Myself', James samples DNTEL's melancholy 'Anywhere Anyone' looping Mia Doi Todd's voice as she murmurs "I love you," her heart directly on her sleeve.
But 'Gentle Confrontation' shines brightest when it pulls us back into James' private fantasies, like on the Aaliyah-esque 'Speechless'. Here James sounds as if she's underwater, pushing her hard-swung rhythms through deep water while George Riley adds low-lit, smokey words. Similarly, on 'Cards with the Grandparents', James talks and sings, recounting personal truths over evocative field recordings and abstracted, tumbling foley beats. It's these moments that give us the best porthole into James' world, a space that's getting more vivid with each and every release.