James Ferraro
Live at Primavera Sound 2012


4.9
classic

Review

by Kirk Bowman STAFF
June 4th, 2020 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: drudgery, a light, transcendence

Everything feels meaningless. It takes so long to find purpose, and when it's there, it's gone just as quickly. I keep listening to project after project, trying to find the one sound that will make me want to get up and do something hard, like it used to. I turn it up, hoping against all logic. But I just keep sinking further into my pillow. A tar pit opens up beneath me and I slowly fall in. I am now surrounded by it, and I'm not strong enough to resist it anymore. I look at my phone until it recognizes me, tap the same five spots I always tap, and move my thumb up and down the screen, my expression unchanging. I soon accept my boredom and move on to the larger display, tapping the arrow keys back and forth. I grow frustrated with my inability to produce any more dopamine and swap back to the smaller one. All the while, the sound plays in my ears, and just keeps playing, over and over again. No matter what I hear, what I see, what I feel, I still want to die. Sometimes I wonder if I even like music any more. It's 2:07 PM. I still have to wait about ten more hours before I get a break.

But then, for reasons I don't understand, the tar gets thinner, and colors itself a shade of light cyan. It's turning into water. I'm in a bubble. James Ferraro's Primavera Sound 2012 performance is playing. It launches ("launches" being more accurate than "opens" as a verb to describe this - it sounds like a computer game from the 2000s) right away, with a vocal "yo" or "go" sample, birdsong, quickly joined by a high-pitched synth. The lead melody does its own thing for a while and is then accompanied by what I imagine a growling butterfly sounds like and some computer clicks and jangling percussion, eventually followed up with some vocal cries. I am struggling to describe this in ways that in any way clarify exactly what is so great about it, but maybe this will help - have you ever been playing an instrument, creating music, etc. and happened upon a fun little loop? Then, naturally, you start to expand on that loop, forming your own miniature jam session where everything, for the moment, sounds perfect, and your potential feels infinite? That's what this is like. It's that feeling if you were able to not only recreate it whenever you wanted but it sounded just as good as the first time, and you lost none of the magic. Magical is a great descriptor for Live at Primavera Sound 2012, because I cannot tell you how much better this makes me feel, and how little sense it makes that it does.

I've heard and read a lot about the concept of flow, the idea that in order to be as productive as you want to be, you need to balance certain elements of your life in order to create a perfect rush where time seems to pass quickly and you get a lot accomplished. I have felt that sometimes, most commonly out of, as far as I can tell, pure coincidence. But Ferraro has somehow managed to capture it. Almost the entire project feels like this, like energy is channeling through you in one focused and pulsating direction. But there's a moment, about 15 minutes in, when everything stops except a few strings. It's breathtaking, heart-stopping - I can't be hyperbolic enough. The butterfly growl comes back, soon joined by many of the other elements, and finally, the drums. This is trance at its finest, leaving you floating. When I listen to this, I feel like I've transformed into something infinitely larger than myself, like I've seen God and They are sound. I know this seems insane. I promise, I made fun of the Pitchfork Kid A review too. But I think I get it now. There's something so meaningful about finding the music that feels like it was made for you, the music that brings you to a better dimension in your imagination.

Eventually, it has to end. The last few minutes are progressively less and less gorgeous (although these vocal samples contrast with the majority of the piece, they are still necessary and powerful in their own way), and ground the listener to reality. But even if I'm back in the tar, I still remember what it was like to not be, and that's enough for me to continue. That's what makes it worth it to listen, over and over again.



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user ratings (38)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
granitenotebook
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2020


1103 Comments

Album Rating: 4.9 | Sound Off

streaming: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2OjMfTi8ak

beaming: me

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2020


1358 Comments


Damnit granite, I didn't come here to feel
Well done xx

oltnabrick
June 4th 2020


40274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh shit, i love this set





glad it got a review

Digging: Joeyy - Attention 2 Retail

Jots
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2020


7367 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

always kinda thought mistertornado reviewed this for some reason but i guess not



that first para tho ;_;

Ryus
June 4th 2020


24663 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice one

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2020


24805 Comments


That first para was scarily accurate like a fucking mirror.

Gonna keep reading.

I'm scared.

Digging: Midwife (USA) - Luminol

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2020


24805 Comments


4.9 lol you beautiful bastard, this was a really good read.

Trance is not my thing so I am pretty sure I won't check this but hats off sir.

I know I need help now.

SteakByrnes
June 4th 2020


24226 Comments


Damn man, powerful review i love you

Digging: Origami Button - No Parking

Winesburgohio
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2020


3154 Comments


DUDE YES i used to listen to walks to work at like 4:30am in the snow and the memories are indelible.

anyway astonishing review, especially that first para mwah xoxo

Digging: The Grasshopper Lies Heavy - A Cult That Worships A God Of Death

Winesburgohio
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2020


3154 Comments


GO GO GO GO GO GO GO

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
June 4th 2020


38840 Comments


fuck me that's a lotta feels. beautiful stuff, that first paragraph is a mood :[

Ryus
June 4th 2020


24663 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Trance is not my thing so I am pretty sure I won't check this but hats off sir."



i'm not a fan of it either but this isn't your typical trance album, id give it a shot

oltnabrick
June 4th 2020


40274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

trance rules and owns posers

Ryus
June 4th 2020


24663 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

have not enjoyed the trance ive heard :/

Gyromania
June 4th 2020


32526 Comments


Really not digging this review

unclereich
June 4th 2020


9712 Comments


leave Kirk bowman alone

Jasdevi087
June 4th 2020


6707 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really digging this review

StarlessCore
June 5th 2020


7732 Comments


marble surf is hard

oltnabrick
August 9th 2020


40274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

need to do another discography run of james ferraro



been too long + the new album is nice

rellik009
January 14th 2021


1634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

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