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Echoes of Globalization Snake Through London Producer Slackk’s “Litherland”

The London producer’s debut album on Local Action is a thrilling evolution from his influential grime instrumentals.

August 14, 2014


The cool thing about Twitter, heaven forbid you need a reminder, is that you can eavesdrop on conversations between those in your field that you admire. Yesterday I saw music journalist Lisa Blanning—who, incidentally, wrote FADER's Kindness cover storytweet "has slackk made a grime-inspired vaporwave album wtf" to which London-based producer Slackk replied a few hours later, "what's vaporwave." Blanning went on to link to FADER System Focus columnist Adam Harper's 2012 feature for Dummy that introduced the name for a seam of heavily processed, consumerism-saturated mood music that he'd identified seeping from the internet's gloom. While Slackk dismissed the connection, I can hear what Blanning was getting at in "Litherland" from his debut album Palm Tree Fire—a thrilling evolution from his early, influential grime instrumentals—due out September 1st on Local Action. Synthesized strings rise expectantly above a lonely, organ-like melody that snakes its way through the grimy undergrowth. Except, at closer inspection, it's not quite lonely, but more glazed-eyed—that half-alienated, half-satisfied feeling that these late capitalism years have come to recognize as standard. While grime has long called out to distant eastern shores, there's an edge to "Litherland" that's eerily familiar: it's more your northern UK town—it's named after an area in Merseyside—lined with the same names as any global street corner. It might not be what Slackk intended, but music carries out its own conversations, winkling out stray connections from the strangest of places.

Echoes of Globalization Snake Through London Producer Slackk’s “Litherland”