Potential is the new album from producer James Hinton under his alias of The Range. The magic of Potential - his first album for Domino, following 2013's Nonfiction - is as a document of its time. The Range has made an electronic record inspired by Baltimore club, early ‘00s grime and mid ‘00s electronica, but also as a member of the last generation that will remember going online for the first time.
As its backbone, Potential utilizes a series of vocal samples that Hinton found in the deep corners of YouTube, introducing us to unknown artists expressing themselves unfettered by the constraints of industry. He might be fascinated by the code that determines his YouTube searches, but what truly grips him are the human stories behind the samples.
Hinton explains, "I found each person by using a small set of search terms on YouTube. Each song is inextricably linked to the point in time that I came across each video. I endeavored to tie the songs of Potential together by telling my own story alongside the stories of the people I sampled. Every song tries to acknowledge a sense of vulnerability or difficulty in life, as well as an intense drive to cope with problems in ways that don't drag you into the abyss."
In addition to the forthcoming album Potential, a documentary titled Superimpose, directed by Daniel Kaufman, out this spring, will look at the human stories behind the unknown artists included on the album. As Hinton states, "I am very conscious that these people who I have sampled elevate what I do, just as much as my record brings their work somewhere else."