|Album Review: Shlohmo – Dark Red|
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With the release of his new full-length album Dark Red, it is glaringly obvious that producer Shlohmo (Henry Laufer) was in an entirely different head-space during the creation of this project. Coming from a bold path of electronic R&B, with an edge of hip-hop, Laufer has taken a dark turn to explore an array of new genres and heavy emotions in this production.
The 25 year old artist sets the scenery with the initial track "Ten Days of Falling". Painting a dreary portrait of a somber creative space, you'll find wavering synths that will haunt you from your speakers. Eventually, the song fades into a lethargic and unshaken R&B beat to pronounce itself as a statement piece, melding his new and old production styles together. Anyone listening will know straightaway that Shlohmo has changed his tone and that we're in for one hell of a ride.
Released on April 7th in collaboration with True Panther and Laufer's Wedidit Collective , don't forget to tune into the visual side of this release, either. Shlohmo has released music videos for "Buried", "Beams", and we can expect up to two additional videos to follow. While Laufer maintains creative authority over the videos, he has teamed up with producer Lance Drake on the "Buried" video and it only adds another level of chaos to the already unruly music.
We were fortunate enough to be introduced to "Emerge From Smoke" as the first single off of the album – about three months back. Piquing our interest with drum and bass like instrumentals, the angsty percussion and distorted bass lines make for an ultimately beautiful production.
As you'll find the one and only collaboration in "Apathy" with D33J on the synth work, Dark Red is a creation almost wholly from the mind of Shlohmo. Laufer continues to push the boundaries using synth and percussion elements similar to those found in the first five tracks, solidifying the fluidity from track to track. But there are moments in "Relentless", "Ditch", and "Remains" where it becomes easy to get lost in the lawless disarray. But listeners are immediately recaptured at the ninth track "Fading". Here, the energy picks back up for a needed recovery after several tracks of raw intensity. The metallic taste left in your mouth should come as no surprise as Shlohmo incorporates purely instrumental ambient, drum and bass, R&B, metal and other elements not usually found together.
The album wraps up with "Beams" which I particularly enjoy as the closing note. It evokes the softest of all the emotions on the album with its ambient instrumentals, and I have to insist that you watch the music video with this one. Depicting an abstract sense of counter culture in big cities, it almost offers an explanation to the muffled aggression heard throughout the project. Coming almost as a surprise, "Beams" is the light at the end of the dark and scary tunnel.
Picture Shlohmo vigorously hacking away at this project in the studio. If we could hear the way his album sounds like the population of people with chromesthesia do, it would indeed be Dark Red.