With only a few weeks until the release of Jerome LOL’s Deleted/Fool EP (out February 4 on Friends of Friends), the Los Angeles-based badman has handed us another carrot in the form of “Fool”. The song’s base is comprised of chugging, swung, machine techno with the brilliant Angelina Lucero putting in a transcendent vocal performance over the top. It’s brooding, propulsive and deeply affecting and while those adjectives come up often when speaking of Jerome’s music, “Fool” is as unique a track as we’ve received from him since the LOL Boys era. It represents both maturation and a condensation of the sound that he’s been fiddling with over the years, matching the dance music proclivities of much of his remix work with the deeply melodic, vocal-based work of his solo material. Deleted/Fool can’t come soon enough.
Leeor Brown’s Friends of Friends imprint has been one of our favorite musical institutions since our founding at the beginning of 2012 and their continued partnership with Jerome Potter aka Jerome LOL has made us endlessly happy over the past 23 months. In February of next year, Jerome will release the Deleted/Fool EP through FoF Music, an affair that will surely feature his signature live sounding percussion and beatific harmonies, as well as two female vocalists. While two and a half months is a long time to wait for the EP, Jerome and FoF have gifted us with “Always”, the melancholic opening track from Delete/Fool. Stream below and start scratching off the days until February 4, 2014.
Following the release of January’s Show Me The Future Vol. 1, the illustrious Friends of Friends imprint will release a second volume of their introductory compilation series on August 12. Whereas Vol. 1 touched on the confluence between hip hop and dance music via artists like Dreams., Kid Smpl and Ryan Hemsworth, Vol. 2 trends in a decidedly house/techno direction, featuring the likes of Octa Octa, The Cyclist and Coyote Clean Up. For our first taste of the comp, we’ve received The Cyclist’s “Daisy Spiral”, by far the most direct, hard hitting track we’ve received from FoF, or even its dancefloor friendly sister label Young Adults. The Cyclist has built a reputation for releasing lo-fi, often un-danceable techno on Leaving Records, but “Daisy Spiral” walks the line between reverent Chicago house and the analogue techno manipulations of fellow Brits Surgeon and Kowton. If clunky, metallic British techno isn’t really your thing, then “Daisy Spiral” should have enough funk to delight. On the other hand, if the Chicago house revival comes off as derivative and boring, then “Daisy Spiral” should offer enough in the way of gritty sonics to keep you engaged. Overall it’s an impressive outing that represents a new direction for both artist and label. Hit the jump to check out the full Show Me The Future Vol. 2 tracklist and stream “Daisy Spiral” below.
If you haven’t noticed, we’re rather excited about Shlohmo’s upcoming Laid Out EP and are sometimes prone to gushing about Mr. Laufer’s subtle arrangements. The latest tune to emerge from the upcoming extended player comes in the form of “Don’t Say No”, a How To Dress Well assisted slow jam that sees Shlohmo working with a notable vocalist for the first time (?). Like “Later”, the first cut we heard from Laid Out, HTDW’s vocals are often abstracted into a melodic tool, but unlike “Later”, they return to the mix in all their full-throated glory in an attempt to both replicate and break down contemporary R&B conventions. Break out the tissues and don’t say no to this romance drug. Stream below and look out for Laid Out on March 4 (Friends of Friends).
On April 16, Friends of Friends’ latest signee, Evenings, will release his debut LP Yore, which will consist of remastered versions of the Virginia-native’s earlier self-releases. “Friend (Lover)” is the first taste from the EP and features many of the familiar characteristics we’ve come to know and love from FoF release. The claps/organic percussion, melancholic vibe and codeine-drenched vocal work all sound innately familiar, but that’s the beauty of Evenings: His music is dissociative in its sense of comfort. Like most of Kid Smpl’s work (who also featured on FoF’s Show Me The Future compilation), Evenings’ music is best suited for headphone listening and carries with it the connotation of some sort of intense emotional experience. Both artist’s music vaguely reminds me of this Zadie Smith essay, specifically the deeply emotive qualities she connotes in certain situations. Both Evenings and Kid Smpl both bring out what Smith refers to as “joy”, “that strange admixture of terror, pain, and delight.” Instead of the visceral qualities of joy that Smith describes though, Evenings’ music is more abstract and implacable. The listener gets a warm feeling of deja vu when listening to “Friend (Lover)”, but can’t even begin to remember where the feeling comes from. It’s a thrilling way to come out of listening to such melancholic music. Stream below and look out for Yore on April 16.
In a recent interview/feature in LA Weekly, Frite Nite boss and BBC Radio One DJ Salva opined that “It was only last year when I realized that I’m a hip-hop DJ and producer who likes dance music, not the other way around.” The difference between the two approaches might seem like semantics to some people, but the results are drastically different. Take the difference between a guy like Bird Peterson and, say, Ryan Hemsworth. They both purportedly make hip hop-informed dance music, or the other way around if you prefer, but the results are dramatically different. Hemsworth is part of the Green Ova click (Main Attrakionz, Shady Blaze) and has been producing for hip hop artists for years. On the other hand, Peterson essentially makes synth-heavy house music with hip hop samples. Two different approaches, two entirely different outcomes. On February 12, Salva will release the Odd Furniture EP on FoF Music and important step for a producer/curator who has opened huge new pathways for himself and his cohorts over the past few months. “Drop That B” is the first taste from the EP and, like Salva’s recent collaboration with Brenmar, borrows heavily from the ghetto/bass club music varieties of the late 80’s/early 90’s. The track is definitely a departure from the house-informed tones of 2011’s Complex Housing LP, but is also far more subtle than the “Mercy” remix that has become synonymous with his name. We’ll let you decide which approach he took on it. Stream below and cop Odd Furniture on February 12.
I’m coming at this review firmly entrenched in Henry Laufer’s corner. Not in the dickriding sense, because to be honest I don’t really fuck with some of his stuff, but just in terms of really respecting him as an artist and being willing to entertain the most absurd, abstract ideas of what he may be incorporating into his work and taking everything I pull from the listening experience as somewhat intentional on his part.
Like much of our generation, I get fucked up and sorta like, idk, think about stuff quite a lot. Let’s say I get Laid Out. That’s a pretty fun/fruitful thing to do in this world of constant stimulus and information. It certainly is a unique perspective, one in which I can divorce myself from all the mechanisms I normally use to sort the overload of information pouring into my brain through the Macbook/eyes/ears corridor into meaningful bins. In my weird, drug addled state of being, those bins become a little more convoluted and bits of knowledge that I have accumulated mix together and lead me to some very wacky conclusions about things and how they work.
Much of what enters my being through the computer/sensory superhighway comes in the form of music. I deal with an improbable number of different permutations of frequencies and macro-arrangements of frequency clumps upon which I vaguely cast the “808 drum machine” schema. Ever since becoming obsessed with “Top Back” by T.I., that instrument has meant a lot to me, even though I didn’t know it for years. The same with synths composed generally from saw/square waves, which have constituted the underpinnings of harmony in western pop music for a minute now.
That’s why I fuck with the instrumentation on “Later” by Shlohmo SO TOUGH. I can listen and discern the different 808 hits that I have become so familiar with, the underpinnings of the huge synth bass tones, and I derive pleasure from the “comfort foods” in the soundscape. Yet, there is a carefully wrought gauze over each of his instruments that is never static; it moves, sometimes imperceptibly, but it always pushes each of his sounds forward into what comes next, and it gives everything the sense of novelty that is so prized in contemporary electronic music.
Shlohmo is one of those “pop-conscious” producers, and thus, in a critical analysis of his music, you gotta spend some time thinking about the vocal element. His treatment of vocals has been, dare I say, groundbreaking across his entire Places EP-and-after canon. He doesn’t just put cool effects on well-chopped vocal snippets, he does it in a way that crafts an entire layer of meaning beyond what those voices may be saying. There is a careful attention to inflection that makes utterly digitized voices seem so human and emotive. He takes this to the next level in the lead single from Laid Out, in which a fuzzed out voice relies on his careful effects processing to impart any meaning on the listener. The fact that, without any heterogeneous syllables, I can understand that the voice is saying “I feel it” at the soaring drops is a testament to the skill with which Shlohmo wields his “Ableton Voice”, managing to marry technical skill with the visceral impact of pop. Well done mans.
So as to not leave my earlier run on sentences about drug use hanging, let me get into the arrangement of the elements in this tune. The most salient impression I got from my first listen to “Later” was how much of a jump in song structure and development this represents for him. It’s subtle, there are few clues to guide you out of a 6 minute trance, but for me, this song is centered around three big moments, which have this awesome chorus/drop hybrid feel to them. Between the drops, the arrangement swirls around to give this awesome pushing/pulling sensation that sets up the big moments with a sense of eventuality. There is a moment of silence, and then, boom, you feel it. To me, these moments represent my hazy flashes of realization in the midst of some drug induced stupor, and hearing a sonic representation of these ephemeral occurrences puts me in a thoughtful, open-minded place. I’m sure different people will have different reactions to this music, but I think this is art that forces a personal reaction in the listener if he or she listens closely. That’s why you should listen, and listen carefully to this song.
Shlohmo’s ‘Laid Out’ EP drops March 5 via Friends of Friends/Wedidit.
Never ones to dwell on the past for too long, Los Angeles based imprint Friends of Friends have kicked off 2012 in proper form with the seven track Show Me The Future compilation. We’ve already posted the Ryan Hemsworth and DJAO (both former Astral Plane interviewees!) contributions, but the remaining five joints are brimming with quality and shed quite a bit of light onto what FoF will be bringing to the table in the coming year. In the coming months, Lazy Brow and crew will hit the world with new material from new and old members of the crew including a new Shlohmo EP (!!!) and Evenings’ debut for the imprint. For now, enjoy the sublime nocturnal vibes of Smpl, the Final Fantasy-sampling Hemsworth and Dreams’ sweaty/sexy garage riddim. The tape sounds like nothing FoF has released to this point, which is exactly its purpose and whether or not you believe these to be the sounds of the future, they’re certainly thought provoking in the best possible way. Stream and download Show Me The Future below.
Ryan Hemsworth dominated 2012 via a lengthy series of remixes and one remix heavy solo EP, but 2013 sees the Halifax-native taking to the originals game with gusto. Like “BasedWorld”, the track Hemsworth let loose on New Year Eve, “An Overture Might Help Me Stop Thinking About You” would fit right in on a video game soundtrack and actually samples Final Fantasy resulting in something of an epic orchestral sound. Pot and pan percussion adds an earthy, homemade element to the otherwise otherworldly instrumental, which will appear on Friends of Friends’ upcoming Show Me The Future compilation. Stream below.
Dropping Gems mainstay and Astral Plane favorite DJAO looks primed to have a breakout 2013 starting immediately. On January 16, label of the moment Friends of Friends will release the Show Me The Future compilation featuring tracks from AO, Kid Smpl, Evenings, Ryan Hemsworth and more. There isn’t a truer bet in this fucking industry than FoF so you know the final product will be tip top, but in the meantime you can stream AO’s contribution below. If you’re familiar with the Seattle native’s past work with Dropping Gems, the effervescent “Time To Stop Waiting” will come as no surprise, but for the uninitiated, ready yourself for full immersion into AO’s underwater universe. More beat-oriented than the Wuhn EP, “Time To Stop Waiting” combines understated wailing vocals and slightly clipped percussion into a simple progression with hypnotic effects. We couldn’t be happier that AO is finally getting his proper due and FoF is the perfect place for that to happen. Stream below and look out for Show Me The Future on the 16th.