Loraine James Takes Electronic Music’s Temperature With New Alias Whatever the Weather

The meteorologist, who is given a metaphor, can listen to a short instrumental sketch by Lorraine James “2 ° C (intermittent rain)” and say that the air over the city was permeated with lead synthesizers, poor reverberation and the steady knock of dissolving cymbals. Empath can listen to the track and realize that no matter how sad the day was, James clearly found something beautiful in the gray vortex. When James herself approaches from her apartment in Leighton, London, the temperature outside is almost the same as her song – not that she let the halo affect her. “I honestly didn’t go out much,” she admits, wrapped in a thick black hoodie and cream baseball cap. “It’s a very homely atmosphere.”

James’ new project is called “Regardless of the weather”, and his eponymous debut is characterized by an unusual gambit: each song describes a different temperature. Bitless “25 ° C” paints a picture of radiant, sun-warmed bliss; the uneven rhythms of “0 ° C” are as fragile as thin ice over a sidewalk puddle. (For those who aren’t used to the Celsius scale, the album can also be a handy cheat sheet.)

Collection of ambient, IDM and drill and bass, Regardless of the weather means a sharp break with James ’2021 album Reflection, a Cubist self-portrait written in contrasting styles of experimental club music. Where this record often went against the backdrop of the forced depression of the first alarming year of the pandemic, the new record, which she worked on in parallel in 2020, is softer and more bucolic. And where Reflection highlighted many new vocalists and rappers, Regardless of the weather mostly instrumental – with the exception of a few songs with James ’own vocals influenced by China Moreno of the Deftones and Mike Kinsella of Midwestern emo heroes American Football, of all people.

The open last name of the project should partly reflect the fact that it may change shape in the future. “I’ve always been fascinated by improvisation and mathematical rock,” she says, thinking ahead. “I don’t want to limit what I do.”

The new pseudonym is just the last unexpected turn in James’s extremely dynamic career. Over the past seven years, the 26-year-old has gone from previous experiments with her earliest, self-released EP to becoming one of the brightest lights of London label Hyperdub along with artists such as Burial and Jessy Lanza. Since her LP breakthrough in 2019 For you and me, she developed a cognitive style, which is determined mainly by its qualities of change of form – nodular electronic rhythms, twisted synthesizers, violent explosions, interspersed with passages of solid calm. For the past two years, fans have watched her developments in real time at Bandcamp, where she has maintained a steady stream of pockets, breakaway, archival material and “random” EPs.

James ’release strategy sometimes seems as unpredictable as her music: late last year, as Reflection began appearing on the list at the end of the year behind the list at the end of the year, she suggested seven tracks Wrong name EP. I like it Regardless of the weather, his songs include a series of free themes: each title – “Loraine JONEs”, “LAraine James”, “Loraine JANes”, etc. – was taken from the misspelling of her name in the press or in the club. Even more unusual was the expiration date of the digital EP: it put it up for sale at Bandcamp just one week before permanently deleting it. However, in the inert world of James even “forever” is a relative concept. When fans started texting her to say they missed the recording, she sent a bunch of their WeTransfer files. “I’m not going to give up if you forgot to buy,” she says, laughing.

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Pitchfork: Over the last couple of years you’ve done a lot of EPs just for Bandcamp. What made you decide that you want the “Whatever the Weather” stand-alone project with your identity?

Lorraine James: I was finishing Reflection and in the album folder there were a few ideas where I thought This may be the beginning of something else. Sometimes I’ll do things I think are good, but it doesn’t necessarily sound like “Lorraine James,” so I’ll put that aside. Some tracks on this album are five years old. I always wanted to put them in something, but they didn’t make sense.

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