Album review: Shlohmo – Dark Red
Liana Gow-Killingbeck checks out the new offering from the LA-based producer:
I stumbled across Henry Laufer, aka Shlohmo, by chance late one wintery evening in 2011 while wrapped up in my blankets, blazed as all hell. I remember that moment so distinctly, when his debut album Bad Vibes poured out of my laptop and changed my life. My dazed brain exploded with ecstasy at its obscure beauty, my ears tingled over its percussive genius and I soon came to realise, I’d found myself a new favourite.
Since then, Shlohmo has been quite the busy boy and my love for him has hardly wavered. Collaborating with Jeremih, the duo produced a sexy RNB sound known as No More, an EP with the ability to get many-a pair of knickers wet.
His remixes have also proven to be rather popular lately, with his workings of Drake, Haerts and Ryan Hemsworth to name a few, snagging thousands of hits online. In addition, he has also recently produced some pretty dope tracks for Banks and Spooky Black.
Now Shlohmo is back flying solo, with the release of his sophomore album, Dark Red. The 11-track instrumental record is as shadowy as its name suggests, and although each track is distinguishable, there is a moody consistency to the album as a whole.
The opening track ‘Ten Days of Falling” is a squealing introduction, with a whirring intensity that climbs to a peak that then muffles into a sound similar to that of an evil, cackling mouse (or a least, what I’d imagine an evil, cackling mouse to sound like).
‘Slow Descent’ has a Boards of Canada-esque quality about it, despite it not being the slightest bit soothing. An amphetamine-like beat emerges and is layered behind the slower synths to produce a beautifully erratic juxtaposition.
‘Buried’ is a song of building apprehension, ‘Apathy’ is the epitome of eerie, ‘Relentless’ is a myriad of rhythms, and ‘Ditch’ is a numbing track with echoing vocals, similar to that of British producer, Burial.
‘Remains’ is perhaps the only tranquil moment on Dark Red, and it’s completely amazing.
There’s one thing for certain – this album is an intense and menacing journey. Shlohmo has forged an emotionally electronic sound that is tangible, and seriously impressive. As such a massive fan of Bad Vibes, I have to admit I’ve been waiting eagerly for Laufer’s next stroke of genius, and Dark Red, my friends, is it.
Dark Red is out now via True Panther / Remote Control Records. You can stream it via the New York Times.
Words by Liana Gow-Killingbeck.