The Range Finds YouTube's Hidden Emotional Side for 'Potential'

The Range Finds YouTube's Hidden Emotional Side for 'Potential'
Photo: Alexandra Gavillet
Producers working from samples to create their musical vision are hardly new. But the Range (a.k.a. James Hinton) is taking a slightly different path with his new album, Potential. Inspired by his own song "Metal Swing" (featured on his 2013 debut Nonfiction) — which finds the Brooklyn producer constructing an entire track around a sampled chorus — Potential was crafted completely from vocal snippets Hinton found on YouTube.

"There's plenty of instrumental music on Nonfiction that didn't have any vocals at all," Hinton tells Exclaim! "[It has] some that do, but ['Metal Swing'] was the most interesting, and I was like, 'Okay, this is what I want to focus on.'"

Finding clips via the world's largest video-sharing site "using a small set of search terms," Hinton loops simple phrases, declarations and even freestyle raps over gooey and stately electronic beds to create "trance-like states."

"You're really forced to consider, 'This guy's looping this thing, why does he want me to hear it that much?' and in return, you discover a lot of dual meaning and force people to consider words," Hinton explains.

The resulting 11 tracks amalgamate into an album largely based around musical moods, brought on by his choice of vocal samples and arrangements.

"Looking back, it seems obvious that the emotions were sprouting out of the pavement, even though I was trying to contain it; the samples ended up being absolutely representative of a lot of what I was feeling. In another way, it's ideal because other people are going to come to this record and they're bringing their own context to it."

Hinton's Superimpose, a documentary about the making of Potential, also just debuted at the South by Southwest festival.

"It's really just trying to get at that question of how, randomly or not randomly, I found these people, and what ties them together. All of these people I sort of fell in love with, I thought that they were all very kind and talented people, and the fact that it was borne out has made me less cynical because it didn't have to be that way."

Check out the newly shared Potential track "Copper Wire" below.

Potential is out Friday (March 25) on Domino.