Shlohmo - Dark Red (CD)
Dark Red is the second full-length album from Shlohmo, aka 25 year-old Los Angeles native Henry Laufer. The record is an uncanny marriage of his ever-evolving, richly textured sound with shades of ’90s IDM, R&B, cassette-tape Jungle, and, in an unexpected turn, sludge metal. “It sounds like if Electric Wizard tried to make an R&B record,” he says, “or Boards of Canada meets Burzum by the River Styx.”
Shlohmo’s music thus far exists in the poles between the subtly textured tracks of Bad Vibes and the booming sinister synths and hi-hats of his production work and remixes (such as his split EP with Jeremih, Banks’ “Brain”, remixes for Drake + The Weeknd). Dark Red utilizes Shlohmo’s existing palate but also mines the noises and imperfections inherent in analog production and naturally damaged sounds. Side-stepping current trends that lean towards pristine, computer-generated production, Dark Red explores natural distortion, fuzz and noise as compositional tools, intentionally distressing sounds to echo the feeling of the icy menace and emotional charge found on early black metal tapes. The result is a deeply personal listen, Shlohmo’s boldest statement yet.
This isn’t an album which fades into the shadows. The eerie, squalling synths of “Ten Days of Falling” usher in a world of phosphorescent disintegration and decay; from the looming claustrophobia of new single “Buried” to the minimalist pindrop orchestration of “Remains” and the carnal hum of “Ditch”, there is palpable anxiety and discord. “Relentless” and “Slow Descent” explore an internal sense of pain and sorrow that adds a stark emotional charge to the record.