July 19, 2010

Shlohmo - Camping EP

CAMPING EP feels like an homage to both J Dilla and Jacques Villeglé.

Dilla because Shlohmo decides to revisit his Tomato Squeeze-esque track "Tomato Smash" with some even dirtier-sounding bass, electronic bleeps that would make Flying Lotus and Mr. Dibia$e blush, waspy hats and 90s-inspired r'n'b vocals. If you listen closely, as the track begins to pick up with some serious Low End Theory-worthy bassage, you can hear Dilla sirens sprinkled throughout the entire track. It's brilliant but it may also feel like a cheap gimmick for some of the listeners.

Regardless, Shlohmo manages to do something many electronic beat artists are only beginning to experiment with: live vocals. Rather than sampling, stabbing and splicing, Shlohmo joins the ranks of Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke by beautifully integrating the human voice. "Sippy Cup," one of the tracks to feature vocals, begins with some heavily-processed humming, followed by glitched-out toy piano sounds and tribal percussions. Very effective.

Someone else Shlohmo may have been emulating is Jacques Villeglé and not with his sound, but with his cover art. CAMPING EP's visual side offers what initially appears to be a sail boat floating in the middle of the water, littered with remnants of a palm tree repeated throughout the piece. This is what you might see at first glance but upon further inspection, you realize that it might actually be a deer standing by a pine tree in the middle of a clearing probably in some forest. It's the colors that throw you off. This is an effect Villeglé was known to use in many of his collage pieces. And the rip.

For what it's worth, cue up the ambient (feels-like-you're-in-a-cave) bass, 360-spinning reverb and lo-fi analog tape machine and you've got another well-formed Shlohmo release with equally impressive-sounding remix tracks. You're just better off listening to most of these tracks at home with some good headphones/speakers rather than at a party... where people are talking... and trying to dance.

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