Published Mar 23, 2016In an era when electronic musicians are crafting highly involved concept albums made from samples, music or just texture, James Hinton (aka the Range) has created perhaps the most pragmatic of the bunch. Scouring the deepest depths of YouTube for samples that would become the anchor of each track, Potential, the Range's sophomore LP, builds 11 songs around desperate spoken affirmations, freestyle raps and unidentifiable vocal clips.
Where his 2013 debut, Nonfiction, referenced '90s electronic, the Brooklyn musician jumps a decade ahead for influence, trading drum & bass and West coast hip-hop for British grime and Baltimore club music. Most of the album's tracks revolve around a solitary clip, allowing Potential to wildly jump from mood to mood as Hinton allows the music to reflect the general feeling of each sample, from the imperfect, dark work-in-progress opener of "Regular" to the cascading, sunny pop of "Retune" to the dancehall feel of closer "1804." Musically, Hinton repeats melody lines over three and four minute loops, allowing Potential to work as a collection of ethereal club tracks.
Whether you're aware of the conceptual backstory behind Potential or come into the project blind, Hinton makes the album just as conceptually moody as it is conceptually aural. (Domino)