Shlohmo’s ‘Dark Red’ is gripping, adopts grim tone compared to previous works

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Shlohmo shoves you into a pit of angst, confusion and paranoia in his latest album, Dark Red. While his use of experimental sounds do not come as a surprise, the album takes on a much darker tone than his previous work, Bad Vibes.

It’s unclear if tracks such as “Ten Days of Falling” should be defined as a series of abrasive noises or if it could actually be called music. The song resembles the mind of Donnie Darko, lacking any sense of logical flow between each new sound introduced on the track. Though the artist was known to have suffered many losses while working on this album, therefore the darker tone was expected, the depth of despair displayed on the album is frightening.

“Buried” starts off with a boring, awkward, twinging noise that makes you long for crickets chirping just to numb the pain. Though his intention may have been to create a sense of suspicion, he leaves the listener bored and counting down the minutes until the song is over. The sounds may build on each other and attempt to reach a climax, but they miss the final destination completely.

“Emerge from Smoke,” a slight upgrade from “Buried,” feels like eating original Cheerios: flavorless but not thoroughly unenjoyable. It was a giant “meh” slyly tucked into a volatile jungle. The track didn’t resemble a dark time, but it didn’t make you smile at the sun, either.

The next track, “Slow Descent,” picked up the pace slightly — though it was still too soft compared to the anger and frustration represented in “Ten Days of Falling”. “Slow Decent” will let you to drift off into nightmares. The beginning starts off well, but the heavy drumming thrown two minutes into the song has a much higher intensity, resulting in plain confusion.

In comparison to the previous tracks, one could argue Shlohmo redeemed himself with the second half of the album, reminding the listener of his roots in Bad Vibes, which had a more sensible flow and still retained musical quality because the sounds weren’t randomly thrown together. “Relentless” and “Fading” seemed to be some of the few songs that actually started off slow, reached a climax and had somewhat of a definitive end. They were the only complete tracks that had any musical value and clearly showed the thought and creativity behind it. The carefully selected sounds actually flowed well rather than clashing with each other like the previous tracks; some were even unnervingly palliative.

“Remains,” a much softer song, could actually cure insomnia though the psychedelic sounds but may not procure the most pleasant dreams. It wasn’t boring like “Emerge from Smoke” and was actually pleasant in a melancholy manner. Imagine sitting alone in an eerily quiet forest. You’re worried that someone could sneak up behind you, but you’re simultaneously surrounded by serenity.

Shlohmo could arguably have started off the album with an intense conclamation of every jungle-like sound to show his frustration and confusion, but then return to reality by slowly fading into slower, more sensible beats. The artist never strays too far from the demented aura the album produced, but the pill becomes easier to swallow towards the end. Overall, the album in its entirety was too experimental for an average listener to enjoy. This may have been a series of songs Shlohmo should have kept to himself to get through the dark times.



Contact Ilaf Esuf at [email protected].