Illinois producer Lorn battered a lot of noggins at Decibel Festival this year with a towering, tectonic set. (The next night, Lorn allegedly wrecked his own head pretty hard and was too effed up to properly perform his after-hours set. Follies of youth, etc.) One of the brightest sparks in Flying Lotus's gifted Brainfeeder stable, Lorn has issued one of the year's strongest albums with Nothing Else. It's a bracingly dystopian work, aswarm with sludgy, pitch-black slabs of dubstep that still keeps the funk coming and the horror-flick-score corniness out of earshot. The sound's not too far in fearsomeness from the doom-laden instrumental hiphop that Scorn's Mick Harris created in the '90s—lofty praise, indeed. Lorn is in his mid-20s, and his future is as bright as his music is dark.
L.A./S.F. bass-music magus Shlohmo (aka Henry Laufer) is another young gun likely to have a brilliant future. His tracks on the Camping EP and Shlomoshon Deluxe full-length challenge FlyLo's for textural sensuality and rhythmic verve. Shlohmo exhibits a savvy-beyond-his-20-years affinity for exotic timbres; crisp, oddly funky beats; and nuanced atmospheres that inspire complex emotional responses. Of all Los Angeles's formidable low-end theoreticians, Shlohmo could end up being the most interesting and important. Seriously, Steven Ellison better watch his back.
Joining Shlohmo on the bill at Space Studios is Ghostly International recording artist Shigeto (aka Brooklyn's Zach Saginaw, who's remixed Shlohmo's "Spoons"). Shigeto works on a more intimate scale than does Shlohmo, but Shigsy (you do call him that, don't you?) has his own fascinating repertoire of rhythmic and textural quirks. The tracks on Shigeto's debut LP, Full Circle, (except for the smooth-jazzy "Look at All the Smiling Faces") take instrumental hiphop to some strange places, all of them worth inhabiting. Paragons of eclectic excellence such as Madlib and J Dilla (were the latter alive, obviously) would nod in approval.
Finally, let's give it up for San Francisco's J.Phlip (aka Jessica Phillipe), who is the dirty bird on the renowned Dirtybird records (sorry, it won't happen again). She is DB boss Claude VonStroke's favorite tour-support DJ, which means she's an able ambassador for that label's predilection for off-kilter 4/4 jams that balance the weird and the wonderful in that nebulous zone between house and techno. J.Phlip can rock a party... until it seems the doors of perception are dangling off their hinges.
Lorn, Mochipet, the Great Mundane, Mr. Wu, Absolute Madman perform Fri Nov 19, Chop Suey, 9 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, 21+; Shlohmo, Shigeto perform Fri Nov 19, Space Studios, 10 pm, $15, 21+; J.Phlip, DJ Recess, Levi Clark perform Sat Nov 20, See Sound Lounge, 9 pm, free before 10 pm/$10–$15 after, 21+.