The End

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Four years following career highlight Dark Red, Shlohmo returned with the ominously titled The End. Even grimmer than its predecessor and no less brilliant, The End is a gloomy, apocalyptic record which sounds like it's trying to break out from underneath the wreckage of civilization. While Shlohmo has always recorded his music at home to cassette tapes, this album feels even messier and smudgier than his earlier work, filled with disorienting pitchshifting and tape mangling. Yet somehow the production itself is clean and dynamic, with heavy bass and more of an attack to the higher ranges. Shlohmo acknowledged metal as an influence on Dark Red, but the guitars on The End are much heavier and doomier, particularly on tracks like the stinging "Headache of the Year." One of the album's early highlights is "Hopeless," a glorious bummer filled with heartsick sighing, piercing mike feedback, and darkwave beats which break down and slow to a crawl. "Eating Away" has even gnarlier tape manipulation, incorporating what sounds like a circuit-bent Speak-N-Spell. "We Sat in the Car" seems to have a bizarre animal sound chirping away throughout its clanging, flickering sonic detritus. "Panic Attack" brings back some of the submerged drum'n'bass breakbeats of Dark Red, combined with double-time juke beats and murky, Boards of Canada-esque melodies. The chopped, disembodied voices of "The Best of Me" and the Burial-like "By Myself" conjure up a host of fragmented memories, all jumbled together in a sort of foggy mind-haze. With each successive work, Shlohmo continues to make music which makes it seem like he's unraveling, yet his vision is somehow clearer than ever. Much like Dark Red, The End is emotionally devastating, but instead of being a depressing slog, it's positively awe-inspiring.

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