Ten-plus minutes into this bracing live techno set by Loraine James, posted as a video by Fact Magazine today, I thought to myself, “She’s still playing ‘Glitch Bitch.'”
I wasn’t complaining, not by any means. Quite the contrary, it was great to have the opportunity to stretch out and luxuriate in the light breakages, the fluid refactoring, that she brings to the music in extended form. A friend then mentioned to me that James, on Twitter, had herself expressed surprise: “didnt realise I played ‘Glitch Bitch’ for 13 minutes..oops.” The original version of the song clocks in at a mere 3:12 on the album For You and I, where it’s the lead track. In the video, it’s more than a third of the set’s nearly 33-minute runtime.
I’ve never known quite what to make of the snippet that serves as the song’s title and lyric — less a lyric than a prominent sample reworked this way and that for the full length of the piece. It may mean be intended as something else entirely, but I’ve taken the song to be an act of James grabbing hold of a dismissive statement and turning it inside out, pushing back by making it her own, so thoroughly owning the phrase that it becomes a powerful symbol of transformation and expertise. That’s certainly the case with the underlying beat, how James lets unfurl and then pulls back gleaming rhythmic patterns, coaxing odd meters and pulse-disorienting pauses as she goes.