The Range - Potential - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Range - Potential

by Rob Taylor Rating:7.5 Release Date:2016-03-25

James Hinton aka The Range returns after a three-year hiatus with a similarly themed new album, Potential. For Potential, Hinton performed exhaustive searches of YouTube in a quest to discover the unsung heroes of unpublished music, be they vocalists or instrumentalists, and sample their work.

In an age where social media has become the enabler for narcissistic self-expression, Hinton’s is a project designed to procure something meaningful, rather than vacuous, from sincere efforts by amateurs, sharing real skills rather than, for instance, flagrant boasts of wealth or good looks. To that end, he succeeds in presenting a very human face to electronic production, a utilitarian purpose backed up by a willingness to share any future publishing royalties with those whose work he weaves into Potential.

Musically, Potential has a parallel ambition as it stretches cross genre, from glitchy electronica, to hip-hop and reggaeton, and the kind of cool dance vibes Larry Levan was once renowned for in the 1970s. Tracks like ‘Copper Wire’ reminded me of The Avalanches and their use of innocent and slightly absurd vocal sampling, in the case of ‘Copper Wire’ a sped-up vocal emulating a squeaky midget’s voice. ‘Florida’ meshes tropical vibes with a walloping bass, ‘Retune’ is effectively a rave-down and phase-out club number, something developed into more techno in ‘So’ with its loud rim cracks, scratchy percussion and odd time signatures.

Potential essentially fashions an electronic storyline around the orphaned ambitions of others, and Hinton’s ability as a musical architect is a wonderful success.

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