Bad Vibes, Henry Laufer's latest effort as Shlohmo, seems a tad tongue-in-cheek title-wise considering Laufer's ability to propel listeners into states of blissed-out meditation. The album plays like a sonic symposium, Laufer graciously playing host to not only his own thoughts, but those of his listeners as well. What makes Vibes such a pleasure is its willingness to mutate in accordance to its listener; although the songs undeniably express Laufer's distinctive sound, they also regularly encourage you to traverse any of your own ideas that may pop up -- album-as-think piece, if you will.

On Laufer's debut effort Shlomoshun, album-long cohesion didn't seem to be a priority, but on Vibes his affinity for the narrative album has gone from zilch to primacy. Throughout Vibes certain tracks serve as focal points that carry specific sections of Laufer's composition, seamlessly bleeding into one another. “Places” has an emotionally uplifting vibe, gradually building from a few light guitar plucks and a Dilla-esque bass-line into a blissful haze that carries into “Anywhere But Here”.



Vibes' sound varies widely, deploying variations of everything from R&B to lo-fi to shoegaze. Although there are easy sonic connections to be drawn to L.A's Low End Theory collective (among others), it's apparent on Vibes that Laufer has crafted a sound entirely his own. Hypnotic moans that sway like pendulums and dub-oriented bass echoes lace tracks for the purpose of differentiating varying parts of Shlohmo's symphony. Laufer's music might be solitary in process, but it comes across friendly and relatable, each track expressing a different mood. It's this affability that gives Vibes its mystique and organic appeal.



In only a brief amount of time, Laufer has sculpted his own niche in the evolving West Coast production renaissance -- and with the release of Vibes it's not too much of a stretch to predict his influence will increase exponentially over the next few years. Vibes is the type of record that yearns to be played repeatedly, preferably outdoors within the stoned confines of your headphones. Much like a bike ride, you're traveling towards a definite destination, but your route and your experiences along the way are entirely open-ended.