Loraine James

For You and I

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Loraine James' first Hyperdub release is an homage to her London upbringing, as well as an exploration of her own identity, specifically as a queer black woman residing in the city. The cover art shows her standing in front of her childhood flat while holding up an old Polaroid photo of the same building. Reflecting the multiculturalism of the city, her music is influenced by numerous genres and styles, but it rarely feels like she's dipping into any of them for train spotters' sake. Her music is the sound of spontaneous expression beyond any perceived limitations. Opener "Glitch Bitch" is a motivational club track frayed with skips and stutters, nearly crashing into itself by the end. "Dark as Fuck" is the album's most abrasive, confrontational moment, with rapper Le3 Black spitting out venomous rhymes over disorienting synths and explosive, mutated grime beats. James expresses the anxiety of displaying affection with her partner in public on tracks like "So Scared," which starts out with chattering beats before exploding into gloriously messy, overloaded Amen breaks. "Sensual" is a bit more relaxed, with its pillowy chords and ethereal vocals, but there's still a restlessness to the ever-shifting beats. The jittery tempo of "For You and I" is the closest James comes to approximating footwork, but the layers of floating echo and ghostly voices elevate it to an entirely different realm. Tracks like "Scraping My Feet" nail the balance of advanced beats and gorgeous, stirring melodies present in IDM at its best. The entire album is refreshingly devoid of any lingering notion of fitting in or following any rules or trends. James' vision is hers alone, and it's a powerful one.

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