I hit at the keyboard of things. Letters scramble and thoughts smash. Loraine James’s new release, Button Mashing, out now on New York Haunted, elegantly expresses the movement of the producer’s swift and inspired fingers that whip what sounds like a small lifetime of sounds into one of this year’s most invigorating debuts.
Sounds here sometimes unsettle. On the raucous opener “Bite Me Bit” a squeaky wheel meets what could be spades smashing up against a tin shed to structure the other industrial sounds that pop in and out, sometimes growling, always quirky. Mid-way these cut out for a moment and I’m left wanting more, perversely. Like watching a cat bat at a hurt bird.
The other three tracks are each their own incredibly particular experience and James manages to respectfully assert the place of each. “Commerical Drum Break” is a short and snappy expression of something akin to free jazz drumming. “Gays With Me (I’m Good)” presents glitchy dance music that bops and bounces at the rate of a blinking strobe. “Lost My Train of Thought” clangs in with unequaled intensity and proceeds along equally speedily.
With this last piece especially, James really plays with pacing, as the song’s multiple parts trip and stagger into their new bpms, or completely new situations. Near the end, after a cacophonous bout of brutalist techno, it slides in a slowed Ariana Grande sample (I’m pickin’ it up (yeah), pickin’ it up (yeah)/Lovin’, I’m livin’, so we turnin’ up) layered over and a warm and languid beat that carries us out to somewhere completely different than where we began.
Throughout, loops hit against often a bit peculiar sounds that seem to enter like sneezes and coughs, twitches of an eye, cramps in a leg, a sudden smile when seeing a text message. A symphonic pulp from a very thrilling new voice. Only a few cassettes are still available so go get one :).