The Katz Meow: James Ferraro


I know I’ll have a lot to say about James Ferraro’s new album, but I don’t quite know what it is yet.

“NYC, HELL 3:00 AM” is deep — Lake Superior deep. But it’s murky, and I think listeners who are looking for a spaced-out sound they can’t put their finger on after a single listen will get what they’re bargaining for on this one.

Ferraro, a Bronx musician who’s been around for just under a decade, makes the short list of electronic artists pushing the experimental envelop that I haven’t brushed off within half a minute’s listen this year.

I think of it like those Warhead candies, if you hit me with too much sour, I’m going to spit it out before I get to the sweet part. And I think Ferraro’s got that balance dialed in after over a dozen releases.

He makes great use of the white space on his tracks — there’s a lot of artfully placed emptiness between what I consider to be some pretty unique sounding percussion and haunting computerized dialogue.

No, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard brooding vocal samples over drum and bass with deep synth lines, and that probably means this won’t be the most memorable album of the year.

For now though, Ferraro’s ambiguity is addicting. If you’re ready to take on the heavy imagery, he’s serving it on a silver platter.

That’s a dish Ferraro is serving cold. In a dark room. It’s frightening.