Rhythm Guide: Loraine James – Reflection | Hyperdub

Loraine James’ genre-splicing album Reflection is out now on Hyperdub and is this week’s pick in our Rhythm Guide. The boundary-pushing London producer explores new avenues in her second album on the label and meshes together IDM with R&B, jazz and drill influences.

After being unable to tour and build on the success of her previous album For You And I, Reflection‘s emotional catharsis goes beyond the personal. Written during a period of lockdown-induced focus, the album carries within it the broader collective anxieties that came to define 2020. “Sitting there with your thoughts for a year is hard. I was just feeling anxious and down,” she tells. In contrast to the brash splashes of For You And I and the grimey anger of Nothing, Reflection is pared down and confident, taking the listener through how the year felt as a young Black queer woman and her acolytes in a world that has suddenly stopped moving.

In opening track Built From Last, James’ lays the auto-tuned voice of Zurich-born producer and vocalist Xzavier Stone on top of solid beats that pulses through the rest of the album and never stands still. On Simple Stuff featuring her own vocals she lays it bare and declares, “I like the simple stuff/ We like the simple things/ What does that bring?” over spliced beats. Running Like That is a leftfield banger featuring Canadian Electro-Pop artist Eden Samara who brings a sweet soul grace to the addictive pop, crackle and glitch. 

Which each track being a stand-out record on itself, this album is a turbulent expression of inner-space, laid out in unflinching honesty, that offers gentle empathy and bitter-sweet hope.