Nonfiction – The Range

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Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, James Hinton has been turning heads with his original productions recorded as The Range. His Disk and Seneca EPs found the perfect home on the Donky Pitch label, an imprint that has been none too shy about its bass-centered visions of party music while blurring the lines between subgenres with every release. Nonfiction proves to be a wonderful representation of this aesthetic, connecting the dots between jungle, footwork, and R&B. Each song is its own amorphous part of a unclassifiable whole, a potential nightmare for those quick to pigeonhole The Range's sound.

You can tell that Hinton is a student of the drum. Percussive complexities seem to be the natural state of things on this album from start to finish. It can be heard within the woodpecker knocks and slivers of chopped breaks on “Loftmane” as well as the avalanche of clanging cymbals competing with serene sonic textures for attention on “Everything But.” However, unlike most danceable selections, the grooves are elastic and not locked, which allows for shifts in mood with the unpredictability of a choose- your-own-adventure book. The chance for romance presents itself on “The One” as '80s R&B melodies caress rearranged vocal phrases and steel drum accents. “FM Myth” presents a wholly different scenario, one where stone-faced rhythms and foreboding bass lines collide with muffled voices and permutated Amen patterns from jungle's past.

The joy of listening to Nonfiction isn't in the sonic calm before the storm, but in finding the calm within the storm. “Hamiltonian” captures this aural tug-of-war perfectly, its dramatic piano and strings providing solace from the skipping drum samples and fallout shelter sirens. The isolated hi-hat taps and minimal footwork structure of “Seneca” unfolds into a flurry of gale force breaks that could tear the song apart if it weren't for the strands of twinkling harmonies holding it together. With unbridled chaos and unmistakable tranquility occupying the same living quarters, The Range has created an album full of beauty and tension. Despite Hinton's acknowledgement of the sounds and subgenres that have come before Nonfiction, it still feels noticeably different from the work of his contemporaries, which says volumes about his abilities as an arranger and a producer.