The Range, a.k.a the Vermont-based musician and producer James Hinton, releases his first new album in six years, 'Mercury', out now. 'Mercury' was produced by James Hinton with additional production by Damian Taylor (Bicameral, Ricercar, Relegate), mixed by Lexxx (Alex Dromgoole) except for 'Relegate' which was mixed by Damian Taylor, and mastered by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters in Los Angeles, CA.
In April of 2018 James Hinton relocated from Brooklyn to isolate himself in the Green Mountains of Vermont and continue to work on the tracks that would make up his rave and grime-influenced fourth LP as The Range. When naming the new album, he landed on a word that captured both the deep intensity of the songs and their multiplicity of meanings: 'Mercury'.
The mirror-like surface of liquid mercury made him think about the way his music reflected specific memories from his life. Mercury poisoning causes mad hatter’s disease, a neurological disorder characterized by behaviors including depression, apathy, and social anxiety, all moods that had taken hold of him during his time alone in Vermont. Hinton, who holds a degree in physics from Brown University, also thought of the planet Mercury and its fraught position as the closest planet to the sun. Eventually, as the sun expands into a red giant star, Mercury will be burnt up and consumed. Hinton had been verging on burnout in his creative process and liked the idea of Mercury continuing to exist despite its cataclysmic trajectory - as he puts it, “scorched but still in orbit”.
On 'Mercury', Hinton builds on the techniques he established on his critically acclaimed 2016 LP 'Potential', seeking to create human connection in the Internet age through sampling vocalists from the corners of YouTube, Instagram, and Periscope. “I feel like I can find ways to express myself in ways that I’m too shy or unable to do in the real world,” Hinton says of the process.
'Mercury' is moody, transportive, and undeniably rave-infused, and although it is indebted to IDM mainstays like Aphex Twin and grime pioneers like Skepta, the album finds Hinton pushing himself outside the constraints of any one specific genre. The result is both maximalist and restrained, huge soft synths up against cruising beats to offset the compressed vocals of his carefully chosen clips. “'Mercury' is my most wide-ranging album yet,” says Hinton. “My memories of rave music, grime and MPC music are playing heavily in almost every song.”
Listen here to 'Mercury'