GROWING up on the North London-Hertfordshire borders of Enfield, producer Loraine James was up on the escarpment, able to gaze down across London in the bowl of the Thames valley below.
That skyline, the city so near, silhouetted, morphing as new towers grew from reinforced steel skeletons, informed and continues to inform her enthralling future beats; skittering, chopping, intelligent, merging jazz, grime, footwork, electronica, drill, Warp tradition into new shapes and torsions, ripe with possibility. Stripped back, austere, Ballardian, it’s right at the cutting edge.
She’s following the thrilling future-breaks skitter of last month’s “Let’s Go” with another leftfield banger, “Running Like That”, with the vocal duties going to Canadian singer Eden Samara, who brings a sweet soul grace to the addictive pop, crackle and glitch.
Eden says the lyrics are about being chased by the voices in your head: “I was imagining a car chase between someone and their shadow self.” Consequently, burrow in and you’ll find an anxious internal dialogue calling and responding over the halcyon chords.
The track comes with a cracking accompanying video courtesy animator Rob Heppell, which sees both singer and producer fleeing an advancing forest fire – transposing that inner turmoil onto the environment outside. Are they trying to outrun themselves?
It takes inspiration from the photographer Richard Misrach and the painter Andrew Wyeth, American landscape artists who focus on the relationship between humans and the landscape, combined with the real-time horror of fire season Stateside.
“First you think it looks like hell, then you realise they based hell on places that look like that,” he says.
Loraine James’ Reflection is out now on Hyperdub digitally and on limited purple vinyl.
It’s diaristic, autobiographical, political, and by turns admits and conveys inner turbulence, honesty, empathy and bittersweet hope, recounting how the viral year felt for a young, black queer woman.