Heavy On The Dark
Los Angeles producer Henry Laufer, who records under the unique name Shlohmo, is putting out his second full-length album as a solo artist after much anticipation. It has been about three and a half years since his debut was released. At the time, there were few producers that were making the R&B-type electronic music that he was, but now the style has caught on and Shlohmo has taken a new direction.
Dark Red begins with the song, “Ten Days of Falling” a sort of shrill and synthesizer-heavy track that most definitely causes listeners to pay attention. Shlohmo has his emotions present in the songs from the very beginning. Each track has a loud and angry vibe without veering towards overly dramatic territory. This LP is strictly instrumental, and using his father’s vintage analog gear helps him get these dark feelings out more clearly.
Although the emotions are clear from the first track, Dark Red seems to drag on about half an hour longer than it should. Starting with the song “Slow Descent,” the LP seemingly makes a descent towards boring. Those four tracks in the middle last about seven minutes each and can feel even longer than that. However, Shlohmo causes listeners to wake up and listen to the last three tracks.
“Remains” is a slower and more calming track compared to the prior ones. In a sense, the producer seems to be preparing his audience for the vibrant finish to his second LP. Although listeners may be in a deep slumber by the end of “Ditch,” they will be awoken by the explosive, engaging drums that animate the final three songs. Because of their familiar and refreshing energy, these final songs are most likely to please fans of his debut album, Bad Vibes.
The closing song “Beams,” introduces a sound completely contrasting with any other emotional vibe given off on the previous tracks. The drums used are complex and layered, leaving a gorgeous last impression to stick with audiences long after the album ends.
Dark Red reveals a more emotionally involved sophomore release. Despite the rather boring and repetitive sounds on the first half of the album, the finale showcases that this aesthetic is a successful direction for Shlohmo to go in. The problem does lie in the fact that some listeners may not wait until the end of the album for these key moments, but potential is shown nonetheless. Shlohmo expresses his artistic freedom and abandons the popular R&B music sound and it turns out to work out for him in the end. No matter what might be next for this producer, it’s safe to say that he will continue to push buttons and experiment with just how far electronic music can carry.