Is it odd to mention that I’m slightly envious of any listeners stumbling upon The Range for the first time? I did exactly that in 2013, taking a wild punt on Nonfiction, the debut long player by James Hinton, and despite knowing very little about him or what he effortlessly produced, I was richly rewarded. Somehow, he weaved futuristic soundscapes that still remained remarkably personal. And yet, as I began to marvel at the record’s startling depth after each mesmeric listen, he was gone again, presumably shuffling back into the shadows of the Providence basement that much of his original material had been assembled in.
While I’m unsure as to whether Hinton still operates in such humble surroundings, Potential occasionally feels staggeringly widescreen. None of his early work’s intimacy is lost – tracks such as ‘Five Four’ and ‘1804’ still retain the notable grittiness that lurked beneath the surface of Nonfiction if you probed for long enough – however, his second album treads an altogether more intriguing path. Having tasked himself with sifting through YouTube, unearthing vocalists from relative obscurity and arranging them as the bedrock of Potential, Hinton melds skittering hi-hats and otherworldly blips around them in trademark fashion. This is far more ambitious fare though; ‘Superimpose’ and ‘No Loss’ are formidable, lingering juggernauts with a battered heart at their core.