Despite being one of the initial innovators in hypnagogic pop (which eventually morphed into what many dubbed chillwave) years ago, James Ferraro gained the most attention of his career with 2011’s Far Side Virtual. It was a record filled with the sounds of advertisements, ringtones, iPads, and Nintendo Wiis. Ferraro once said it sounded best coming out of an iPhone speaker, while adding that the smooth easy-listening tracks were the most nihilistic music he’d ever made. After sparking inspiration for an entire community of musicians with that record, and getting album-of-the-year honors from avant-garde tastemakers The Wire, Ferraro has taken a sort of musical walkabout to find what to tackle next. None of the records since then have been as definitive as FSV, but each release (Sushi, Cold, and the Bebetune$ mixtape especially) adds a new facet to the man’s strange world of sound.
Now we have the first single from Ferraro’s upcoming album, NYC, Hell 3:00 AM, which seems to perfectly convey the dread and loneliness that the title stirs up. The record looks to be the most heavily conceptual since FSV, which is generally when he’s at his best. On “Eternal Condition/ Stuck 2″ the fractured R&B and hip-hop from Cold is stripped to its barest elements, while Ferraro gently delivers some of the most vulnerable vocals he’s ever done. That’s followed by the second section of the track which is introduced by an unsettling police radio report before shifting into a string heavy drone that certainly sounds a bit like hell, or New York at 3 AM. Listen below.
NYC, Hell 3:00 AM is out 10/15 via Hippos In Tanks