Loraine James

Loraine James is a producer who uses a minimalist setup and unbound creativity, she utilises IDM glitch aesthetics with an improvisational, jazz-rooted spirit and a unique talent for integrating her diverse influences into cohesive and emotive pieces.

Loraine James - not Lorraine James, Loraine Jones, or any other common misspelling - began developing her musical language early in life. Growing up on Enfield's iconic and colourful Alma Estate in North London, she was surrounded by a plethora of parallel cultures. Thanks to her mum's obsession with anything from heavy metal to calypso, James was able to experience music from the driver's seat. She learned to play the piano as a teenager, frequenting emo, pop and math rock shows before teaching herself electronic music production with a MIDI keyboard and a laptop. In her low-key home studio, James channeled her wide range of interests into a personal sound that in time evolved into an identifiable signature.

She released her debut album "Detail" in 2017, and although it reached only a modest audience, it caught the ear of DJ and producer Object Blue. She invited James to guest on her Rinse FM show and cheekily tweeted Steve Goodman (aka Kode 9), urging him to sign her to his Hyperdub imprint. It worked, and Hyperdub released "For You & I" in 2019, capturing the attention of a music scene curious to reconcile the same disparate sounds James had grown up with. Using the emotional colours and sonic strokes of IDM, drill, ambient music and R&B, James inked a musical landscape that accurately represented her queer, Black, British reality at a time when visibility had never felt more vital.

Riding on a wave of critical acclaim that saw her featured in Pitchfork, DJ Mag, Mixmag and Quietus, James took her music across the globe, performing alongside long-time influences and peers like Telefon Tel Aviv, Jessy Lanza and Holly Herndon. And while COVID-19 cut things short, James used the downtime to experiment, self-releasing a slew of impromptu EPs via Bandcamp. Later on, during the summer of 2020, she felt ready to approach her third album, and assembled a cast of collaborators that included Manchester rapper-producer Iceboy Violet, Canadian singer Eden Samara, US producer Baths, Zurich's Xzavier Stone and her college friend Le3 bLACK.

"Reflection" achieved even more attention than its predecessor, sweeping up universal praise for its honest and hopeful development of James' unique sound. Often using her own voice and leaning more forcefully into her own brand of experimental pop, James was able to broadcast a story that connected with an isolated, anxious community of fans. Undaunted by the success, James launched herself immediately into another project, masterminding a self-titled album under the Whatever the Weather moniker that sidestepped club-adjacent pop in favour of American Football-influenced math rock and ambient motifs.

Since that release in spring 2022, James has returned to her busy tour schedule, playing at Berlin's legendary Berghain venue for CTM, and appearing at Rewire, Unsound and many more European festivals. She also found time to release a genre-blurring EP of collaborations with her lockdown-era studio mate TSVI that Pitchfork described as "an intimate picture of two friends shutting out the world and seeking a common language.

With Gentle Confrontation, Loraine's third album for Hyperdub, she lets us into a new chapter of her real and sonic life in which she examines her past and present. She says this is the record a teenage Loraine would like to have made, with musical tendencies that reflect that time, too. It's a positively languid, enjoyably disjointed set made while listening to her teenage favorites: math rock and emo-electronic such as DNTEL, Lusine, and Telefon Tel Aviv, which drew her back to her adolescence. Featuring an ever more diverse set of peers, the album places them into Loraine’s unusual musical settings and draws out sensitive and reflexive performances. At other times the album stretches out into a drifting ambience as if trying to find a sense of bliss in the everyday.