Ideal Bar, 5 out of 6 stars
I traipsed lazily into the warm environs of Vega’s Ideal bar not really knowing what to expect on Wednesday night. Dark wintry evenings are not the best fodder for even the most ardent music lovers but Ideal bar, the smallest sibling in the Vega family, tends to impress almost every time out.
I got in just in time for opening act Jongpadawan (Pronounced Young Padawan, a reference to star wars), who paved the path for a lo-fi evening with a serving of sautéed bits and pieces that contained a solid electronic foundation, lightly glazed with merry, abstract beat wizardry. For a 21 year old with only a handful of releases to his credit, Jongpadawan proved to be a class act, worthy of a stage at either August’s Strøm or Distortion later in the year , so keep an eye open for him.
Moving back to the main act; The Range, aka James Hinton, waltzed casually onto the stage and got straight down to business with his set, playing a tightly woven sequence of tracks that mixed seamlessly with each other from the get-go. Hinton’s music draws from influences as far wide as grime, hip-hop, and jungle, side-dishes around a main platter of electronic nature. The result is a complex sound, that sounds remotely similar to the surreal composition of underground British artists like Burial fused with infusions of Andreas Trentemøller’s driven experimental forays.
Several songs off debut album Nonfiction were particularly emblematic; ‘the loftmane’ for it’s wicked sampled vocal, ‘Seneca’ for it’s euphoric buildup and the fact that it sounds very much like the work of revered electronic artist Gold Panda and ‘Postie’ for its symphonic piano chords that sound like they’re straight out of a 1930’s Bechstein grand piano in a cavernous hall. Hinton sang along to many of his tracks adding layer upon layer of beats, effects and the occasional turntable scratch for good measure, luring the small crowd onto a bewildering journey through the sound that has earned him a call-up to Barcelona’s legendary Primavera Sound later this year. Equally impressive were the two old school hip-hop tracks that he played towards the end of the show, a humble tribute to one of the underlying influences of his music. Where Britains Disclosure have gained fame through accessible, pop-influenced tunes laden with wonderful electronic influences, The Range has developed a slightly similar style, rooted in hip-hop and woven in contemplative beat work that should see this kid kick it with some of the very best, if his present trajectory continues on the blazing trail it has lit over the last year or so.