Live Review: Shlohmo with D33J and Jim E Stack at Neumos 4/26/14

Live Reviews
Gerrit Feenstra
all photos by Brittany Brassell

As the business model for the 21st music industry continues to shift and evolve, more and more artists are forming small, independent collectives, compiling funds between the group to make distribution easier to take on financially, but keeping ownership and obligations independent. One of the best examples you'll see of this on the West Coast is WEDIDIT, a collection of some of the best up and coming LA electronic music, headed by Shlohmo and including D33J and RL Grime among others, with contributions from Ryan Hemsworth and others. And not a one of them is past their mid-twenties. WEDIDIT is making sonic waves right now - just look at their reception at SXSW or Coachella if you need concrete evidence. Even better, check out their showcase on Diplo & Friends from last fall. But for those in the know, Saturday night was one hell of a time. Shlohmo and D33J, along with producer Jim-E Stack, played a big, sweaty, sold-out party at Neumos. The dancing commenced at 9 and it did not end until the stroke of midnight. Shlohmo and friends brought the house down one set after another and proved that WEDIDIT is only getting started.Jim-E Stack may have started his set as a relative unknown Saturday night, but judging by his reception, I doubt many walked away without making a mental note to check out his Soundcloud later. His work ranges from pounding house to half tempo hip-hop breakdowns, and everything in between. Much like his tour counterparts, Jim-E Stack counterbalances massive club beats with emotionally powerful melodies that end up just giving you sensory overload. The mixture is dangerously infectious, and track after track, Jim-E Stack got the party started off right.

Jim E Stack:

Seattle had the divine pleasure of seeing LA producer D33J three times in one month - Djvan Santos was just here on tour with ODESZA for two straight nights of electronic bliss. For his third night here, none of the energy seen prior has been lost. D33J's music is a heavily psychedelic mixture of noise, samples, and striking melody over a house foundation. His material is a trippy and unique addition to the WEDIDIT palette that plays heavily on organic energy build. Once again, we got to hear his awesome edit of Drake's "Days In The East" which I hope and pray will pop up on his Soundcloud sometime soon. D33J kept the energy moving with style Saturday night and had the crowd prepped for a fantastic time when Shlohmo stepped up to bat.


Tonight, we find Shlohmo halfway through a blitzkrieg. Born, Henry Laufer, the LA producer has been bombarding us with tripped out psychedelic electronic with hip-hop vibes since 2009, but in the last year and a half, it seems like his name is only becoming more prevalent in the music news headlines. Right after playing Decibel Fest back in 2012, Shlohmo dropped his fantastic remix of Jeremih's "Fuck You All The Time", which was met with such positive reception that the two collaborated on new original track "Bo Peep (Do U Right)" for Yours Truly a couple months later. The latter made the 2013 favorites list of more than a couple people, including Def Jam Records, who contracted the two a collaborative EP set for summer 2014 release. The first single, "No More", is a relentlessly addictive mixture that matches Jeremih's dynamic vocal range with textbook Shlohmo brilliance. And in whatever downtime he's had left, he produced the fantastic new BANKS single "Brain", which showcases his budding style in a slightly softer, more introspective fashion. On the cusp of a massive major label release only 5 public years into the production game, Laufer has to be on cloud 9.

Shlohmo's Neumos set tonight was a dream. The stage setup put Laufer high in the sky on a stage decorated somewhat similarly to his newest EP Laid Out. With epic pillars and some light up brick structures decorating the base and edges of his setup, a collection of neon glass decorated the back wall, floating the heavy smoke laden throughout the room. Laufer's dynamic personal energy is resonated on the floor and up in the rafters, as the crowd is all smiles, bouncing along to a bass-heavy set of original material and Shlohmo remixes. Much of the Laid Out material was seen along with the best of the Vacation cuts, some repurposed here with newly adorned vocals and tracks meshed in and out. Laufer created an excellent juxtaposition in the energy of his set. On the one side, there was the introspective, spiraling experimental music scene on Vacation and similar recordings. On the other side was his new material with Jeremih and others, maintaining a similar complexity in emotional range, but lending itself more to bump and grind than sit and ponder. Switching intermittently along the way, the two halves formed a beautiful and captivating whole, as Shlohmo's hour-long set flew by in what felt like minutes. Once his EP on Def Jam drops, we hope Laufer returns to Seattle sooner than later.


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