After receiving a completely unexpected amount of praise for his debut album, Shlomoshun Deluxe, and henceforth rocketing straight to the spotlight of the West Coast-centered beat scene, 20-year-old producer Henry Laufer has dropped his first official follow-up, the Camping EP. To back up a moment, I used the word "unexpected" because Laufer (who produces under the name Shlohmo) arrived seemingly out of nowhere with his debut. There was no buzz prior to the release, there were no remixes foretelling the artist's arrival, and his name wasn't even being tossed around by some of electronic music's more forward-thinking publications.
That all changed once Shlohmo's debut hit. He's been featured on electronic and indie blogs alike, his name has been on the tongues of beat music tastemakers around the globe, and even SF Weekly named him one of the best new local producers of 2010. Needless to say, a lot was riding on Laufer being able to deliver another premium taste of his low-fidelity, bass-heavy beat tunes, and with the Camping EP, it's safe to say he did.
The new release is split in two parts. The first half features four tracks from Shlohmo, including three completely original jams and one rework of Deluxe number "Tomato Squeeze." The second half holds remixes of three of Laufer's songs from fellow forward-thinking producers Baths, Shigeto, and Asura. To start, every track is stellar. There are heavy-hitting bangers ("Naps" and "Tomato Smash") full of indescribable textures, unworldly bass rumblings, and that certain dirty slap necessary to get heads and feet moving. Shlohmo gets more soulful and poignant, too. The synthline for "Birthday Beat" sounds ripped straight out of any '90s R&B tune, and "Sippy Cup" flexes a warbling, sampled vocal melody that could be one of the most haunting sounds heard in recent beat music.
What really helps hold together the Camping EP is that the remixes don't sound tacked-on or the least bit out of place. Baths' piano-heavy "Post Atmosphere" tune, Shigeto's atmospheric rework of "Spoons", and Asura's disturbing rendition of "Teeth" sound perfectly in balance with Shlohmo's style and their own. Truthfully, it wouldn't be the least bit difficult to convince yourself that every song on the seven-track affair was penned solely by Laufer. It's an EP full of tracks thick with ideas, distinct production characteristics, and brilliantly composed songs.
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