Review

Loraine James

Gentle Confrontation

Hyperdub • 2023

Loraine James has something that is rarely found in the world of advanced electronic music—and no, for once we are not talking about the Yamaha CS-80, but about humour. A track title like »I DM U« might be little more than lol-worthy play on words, but as a pre-release single for an album that is titled »Gentle Confrontation« and at the beginning of which the producer herself breathes »I feel very tired / I feel very bored« into the microphone, it can just as well be understood as a statement: James has no desire to be pigeonholed by category-fixated neckbeards. »Gentle Confrontation« then does not take a leaf out of the book of the old Warp school but rather nods to intricate Midwest emo à la American Football and early noughties electronica like that of Telefon Tel Aviv, though it hardly ever sounds like any of that. Although tracks like »2003« are explicitly meant as a homage to the musical taste of a young Loraine, the album sounds very much of its time—heady and hearty at the same time. This also has to do with feature guests like art-pop bard Marina Herlop and hardcore continuum-meets-R’n’B up-and-comer George Riley, who repeatedly inject a touch of pop into James’ interlocking rhythms, complex melodies, and lush harmonies, but just as much with the music as such: James has found a bizarre magic formula for making the weird stuff sound just beautiful. Don’t call it IDM, she’ll DM u.