Without the context or back story ‘Potential’ exists as an imaginative, frequently catchy electronic album that marries grime, Baltimore club and UK dubstep in a way that demands repeat listens. But layer on the concept and a different dimension is revealed. After playing with the idea on his 2013 debut ‘Nonfiction’, this time Brooklyn-based producer James Hinton went all out: over hundreds of listening hours he plugged in a set of specific search criteria to dig down into YouTube’s vast catalogue of amateur videos to discover a series of vocal samples.
What he found were clips of unknowns like teenage MC Kruddy Zak freestyling in front of brick wall in London (88 views) and Jamaican prison-officer-cum-reggae-artist Naturaliss (100 views) who’d record songs he kept in a dusty cardboard box. As Hinton got in contact, often by extraordinary means, a 21st Century digital crate-digging exercise turned into a heart-warming social experiment as he got to know this group of collaborators. It’s all captured in a documentary, Superimpose, which follows the release of the album.
Interesting as that is, it wouldn’t have the impact it does w ithout the music. It’s The Range’s best work yet, dancing synths, spectacular drops and immaculately crisp loops. Without the story it’d stand up as a beautiful piece of work, but add that in and it’s the most human electronic record released for ages.
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