By Ben Gray
BOSTON — Even among people obsessed with electronic music (like me, for example), it can be nearly impossible to figure out who the hot young producers are. That's especially true when it comes to the unusual stuff. The fact is, when you live in 2012, anyone with access to the Internet and a few small pieces of software has the means to create, polish, and distribute a track, and to become famous virtually overnight.
As a result, SoundCloud and YouTube are flooded with bedroom producers who can create a brilliant track one day and never be heard from again. While that democratization is great, it also makes it hard to know whom to follow. I could name five artists I listened to nonstop for a month before something – repetitive releases, Internet-enforced ADD, or a lack of anything new under their name – made me stop paying attention.
Shlohmo, however, is someone to watch, which we’ll have a chance to do at the Sinclair Saturday night.While not exactly a new artist – he's made a pair of albums and a handful of EPs – he's also not what you'd call an established artist. After some early work that was a bit unfocused, varying in sound quality, and occasionally flitting from idea to idea, he's emerged with an album and a prolific string of remixes and singles in the past two years that place him right at the forefront of abstract, dreamy soundscapes and experiments.
It's not for everyone. Shlohmo's most recent album, Bad Vibes, is a hazy, meandering world of abstract compositions with only the most tenuous connections to hip-hop or dance music. This is not “body music;” it's listening music. Music for contemplation. Music for lying down with your significant other and not thinking about much of anything.
But that’s what makes Shlohmo so exciting, along with the innovation of his ideas and the fact that he’s sustained this level of creativity and focus for three years. It's one thing to keep having new ideas, it's another to have new ideas after three years of making music. That promises a real career for him, one that you can follow as he evolves his sound in the coming years. In this past year alone, he's been filling his Soundcloud with remixes of Aaliyah, LOL Boys, and Drake, so there's a sense of humor behind the haze. That's something to watch for in his next releases
His Saturday concert catches him at a moment of stability. We can expect the vibe to be quiet and thoughtful, perhaps with a few snatches of his former dubstep-influenced dance style. We don’t know exactly what he’s going to play, but stability isn’t the same thing as predictability. It's a concert for people who want to explore sound and see what's coming next. It might just be Shlohmo.
Ben Gray is a freelance writer and editor from Somerville, MA. He is the editor of Network Awesome Magazine, an English teacher, and a wannabe DJ. He likes to wear brightly colored clothing and dance like a rooster.
This program aired on December 26, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.