Shlohmo’s ‘Heaven Inc.’ EP is a dystopian soundtrack for apocalyptic times
SHLOHMO has released a brand new EP titled Heaven Inc. A continuation of the dystopian desolation he explored on his 2019 album, The End, which also piggybacked off 2015’s Dark Red, Heaven Inc. is four sprawling, gritty, chilling and utterly captivating songs worthy of your attention.
Synonymous with genre-less experimentations that aren’t afraid to venture into new sonic territories, Shlohmo melds so many different influences to make something completely “his.” While no two songs sound the same, the vast majority of his extensive body of work still maintains that quintessential essence that makes it a “Shlohmo song.” From a rattling bass line to eerie atmospherics, searing guitars to spooky synths, Shlohmo‘s music has always contained an immersive quality for years, and we hear him again explore this on Heaven Inc.
Opening with the title track and its soft glitches and lo-fi touches, Heaven Inc starts with a measured and precise introduction before the trip down the rabbit hole really begins. It’s peculiar, curious and inviting, but still somewhat ominous, with a solid near-two minutes of whirs, beeps and bloops sounding almost like an alien transmission than the introduction to an EP. Steadily gathering more and more elements, the meticulous precision of this song as it is masterfully tied together is immediately striking. Shlohmo‘s production prowess speaks for itself, but it still is disarmingly impressive in this opener in how expertly he moves between the multi-faceted song. By the four-minute mark, we’ve finally reached the moment it all makes sense, and as the guitars and drums kick into gear and finally break the tension, a visceral reaction should be expected. Not many artists can move from sparse and desolate atmospherics to a rocking shoegaze section and back again in the space of not even six minutes and sound even half as good, but Shlohmo holds nothing back here and proves with a single song why he is one of the last decade’s defining producers.
From here, we move into ‘Looking At Plants’, a clanging, searing alt-RnB and trip-hop infused song with a bottoming-out bass line and more mechanical whoops and whirs. It steadily unfurls, with the percussion almost falling over itself as it staggers alongside an incendiary guitar. Sounding like the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic trip, its fittingly chilling and ominous. This apocalyptic scene is amplified on ‘Misanthrope’, with its meandering, snake-like melody and laser synths. The stomping bass, swelling atmospherics and palpable intensity build and build, demonstrating the impeccable refinement Shlohmo is capable of — while the song threatens to break through or fall apart completely, he always knows just when to bring things back into focus or take something away, pushing the track until just enough to keep you on your toes as you listen. By the time we reach closing track ‘Nice & Shiny’, its delicacy is almost unnerving as we emerge from the cacophony and into the spatial, floating and swelling soundscape.
In a year in which the world as we know it ceased to exist and many of us are grappling with the concept of a “new normal,” there is something weirdly comforting about embracing the apocalypse and demise of everything we’ve known. Political unrest, civil uprisings, systemic overhauls and a global pandemic are pretty significant indicators that the world is metaphorically on fire, and when you take into account the ongoing decimation of the natural world as well before our very eyes, the concept of the world ending begins to not feel as far-fetched. So, as we come to terms with the way this new world operates, many of us look to art to reflect our current times. I can’t think of a more fitting record for this year then, than that of Heaven Inc. Not only is it a soundtrack for our apocalyptic times, it’s also some of the finest work from a producer who has spear-headed so many subgenres, defined a generation of producers and still remains as relevant and as exciting as ever.
Heaven Inc. by Shlohmo is out now, buy/stream it here.
Words by EMMA JONES