Loraine James – Reflection

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Album Cover for Loraine James "Reflection"

I sometimes wonder what would happen if reviewers didn’t receive press kits. It’s a question that re-emerges as I read about Loraine James and encounter phrases like “genre-bending IDM” and “paint portraits of Blackness, queerness and loneliness.”

I don’t know what genre-bending IDM sounds like. What I hear in Reflection is a thoughtful and emotional record that builds on the history of electronic dance music and pushes it in exciting directions.

That Paste link above opens with “anxiety-inducing.” I don’t hear portraits of Blackness, queerness, and loneliness like they did, but I definitely hear anxiety, along with hope, strength, joy, and sadness. Maybe that’s what the intersection of Black, queer, and lonely sounds like. I know it’s what the day-to-day fight of being alive sounds like for a lot of us. I can’t make out many lyrics, but both isolation and triumph exist in lines like “I was always a little off but I get up and get on.”

It seems as if critics approach James through a lens of race and gender. To me, Reflection simply sounds like the journey of being alive for those of us who were always a little off. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever felt that way.

Released: June 4, 2021

About Chuck

Chuck is a lifelong music lover. He spent his 20s working as a professional musician before discovering he enjoys listening to music more than playing it. He knows a little bit about most genres, though electronic dance music, rock, and hip-hop are his favorites. Eleven albums/shows that transformed how he sees and hears the world (in order he encountered them): Fleetwood Mac Rumours; Van Halen Fair Warning; The Cure Standing on a Beach; John Coltrane Crescent; De La Soul Three Feet High and Rising; Puccini La Boheme (de los Angeles, Bjorling, Beecham); Everything but the Girl Walking Wounded; Carl Cox, Twilo, NYC, May 2000; Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.; Grateful Dead. Fillmore East, NYC, April 1971; Taylor Swift 1989.

1 thought on “Loraine James – Reflection

  1. bobvinyl

    I never really thought about it, but press kits are kind of a mess. I know a lot of the folks who write that stuff do love music and are well-intentioned, but they are also trying to “sell” something, trying to make it stand out in a crowded field. It’s almost like a resume. You mention who you were instrumental in implementing some project, but leave out that there were 8 other people involved and you only worked on part of it. You mention that you do whatever is necessary to deliver on a deadline, but leave out that you consistently forget to do your status report on time. The same thing is true. Is the record genre-bending? I haven’t listened yet, but probably not. Maybe it subtly draws on some things outside of the norm. The press kit is just not going to state it in those terms. Oddly though, it seems that they focused on the small achievement in terms of Blackness, queerness and loneliness, because being able to extrapolate that into something bigger is much more significant. It not only broadens the audience, it also creates common ground among people, “the day-to-day fight of being alive” as you say. I once read something about poetry that said something to the effect of, “A good poem should be very specific and let the reader find their own experience in it.” It sounds like that may be what happened here and that is remarkable.

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