NBHAP Rating: 3,7/5
Label: True Panther Sounds
01. Ten Days of Falling
02. Meet Ur Maker
04. Emerge From Smoke
05. Slow Descent
No rapper would be any good if it wasn’t for the beats that mark the foundation of a solid track. You can have the tightest flow in the world – if the track you’re rapping on is lame so is your performance in most cases. Still, Henry Laufer is not your usual hip hop producer who’s just hammering on his MPC or MIDI-controller. The beats of his alter ego SHLOHMO have always been far more than just ordinary bouncing hip hop beats. They have an eclectic and ghostly sense and deliver a way broader understanding of sound and percussive instrumentation than other competitors in the game. He’s more thinking in FLUME and RYAN HEMSWORTH dimensions and Dark Red takes that idea even further away from its original concept.
A simple rose on the cover? We’re not sure if Laufer is quoting DEPECHE MODE‘s legendary album Violator here but his music definitely does. The sound of Dark Red puts the music of SHLOHMO in way darker territory than his 2011 debut album Bad Vibes. Ten Days of Falling starts with a tender oldschool-sounding synthesizer melody before a dark and plodding beat unfolds itself over this melody as we travel further away from the light. The following tracks like the desperate Buried with its haunting guitar play and the heavy drums continue the trend. SHLOHMO is closer to artists like HOLY OTHER and ANDY STOTT in 2015, travelling further to the abstract elements of his electronic sounds. Definitely not the worst path Laufer could have chosen.
Further down the rabbit hole
Dark Red is filled with morbid experiments and complex beats on one side while remaining surprisingly reduced on the other. In Slow Decent trippy break beats light up the darkness while Fading represents Laufer’s love for 90s jungle and drum & bass; something that definitely influenced the new SHLOHMO longplayer. There’s dark bells in Remains and a mysterious choir in Ditch. It’s quite surprising that Beams ends the longplayer with a tropical vibe and a slightly sunny feeling. As if someone finally switched on a light bulb or opened the curtains. Until then Dark Red remains an exciting trip into the twilight for all those who enjoy nightly sounds, cinematic synthesizer instrumentals and dodgy beats. Might be interesting to see how this gentleman evolves in the future.
When ghostly beats team up with eclectic electronic soundscapes. Henry Laufer takes his alter ego SHLOHMO onto a morbid journey on his new LP ‘Dark Red.’