Loraine James Is Caught in the Anxieties of Digital Romance on "I DM U"

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BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Sep 14, 2023

Loraine James's Gentle Confrontation is said to be an album the artist's younger self would have made, though its centrepiece "I DM U" captures a feeling that transcends teenagehood. The instrumental synth and drum piece — the latter supplied by black midi's Morgan Simpson — brings to mind the rush one experiences upon their thumb or cursor hovering above 'send,' or seeing a red notification flash on the other end.
The conversation begins with James's electronics making their entrance in staccato, as if the sound of keystrokes, while Simpson's drums feel out their place with a light touch. At the sound of a snare roll, the dialogue switches, as James's synths are hushed to to highlight Simpson's fluid fills and subtle ghost notes. In tandem, James's ascendant melodic figure pushes Simpson's rhythmic details — a cracking snare, a forthright ride bell groove among them — to even greater expressive high points. As the synths are quieted once more so too are the drums in a final moment of togetherness, as Simpson's intricate side stick method makes for a delicate comedown.


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