With xylophones, finger snaps and chimes in tow, LA-based producer Shlohmo (aka Henry Laufer) offers up a four-track appetizer before his Bad Vibes LP arrives this summer. In a twist on the traditional dubstep approach, Shlohmo has employed more organic sounds in lieu of blips and overbearing electronic gloom. Places EP is a gentle beast, meant for sleeping while wordless vocals and prominent samples echo onward.
The title track could easily be a sultry John Legend backing track that never found its lead vocalist. It simmers with the rhythm of a spinning record needle and the lull of an earnest, erotic guitar. “Things I Lost” is a buffet of wind chimes and looping (and mildly irritating) wooden blocks against the distant shouts of happy children, while “Forgot I Was Here” pits xylophones against the EP’s lone instance of electronic terror buzz. The lazy drift of the closing “Empty Pools” only reinforces the notion that Shlohmo has created a wonderful sleeping aid.
In an almost self-aware sense, Places EP successfully challenges the typical dubstep trends of imminent doom and paranoia---an uncommon approach in a genre driven by the lifeless hearts of computers. There is a warmth in this machinery; less electro-anarchy, more natural meditation. Do we really need music to constantly remind us that the world is a cold and ruthless place? Shlohmo brought out the xylophones for a reason, folks. Enjoy the sunshine while it’s around.
2. Forgot I Was Here
3. Things I Lost
4. Empty Pools