The Friends of Friends Music
second anniversary party at the Echoplex Saturday night showed that label head Leeor Brown
has tapped some of the most talented young producers working in Los Angeles right now.
With the FoF Network, he knits together the rapidly-expanding corners of the beat scene, from decade-deep Monome wizard Daedelus to rising stars Baths and Shlohmo.
The night showcased most of the FoF crew--Mexicans With Guns, Salva, Shlohmo, Groundislava--and well as Baths, JonWayne, and Anenon, some of the label's most talented associates.
Young producer/rapper JonWayne
set up on stage around 9:15 to play a short set in front of a small audience. Though he hasn't had a release on Friends of Friends, he's still close to the label; he released his debut LP Bowser
on Alpha Pup--who also distributes FoF releases--earlier this year. Early into his set, he weaved in a preview of new Samiyam, out later this month on Brainfeeder, into his own beats, sampling the meows and deep bass beats from "Kitties." Growing more confident with each beer--he finally turned twenty-one, he told us excitedly--he started rapping over his own beats after a quick reminder: "By the way, this is the time to get sexy, all you pretty girls." Too bad there was probably one pretty girl to about thirty guys in the audience.
The Echoplex started filling in for Non Projects founder Brian Simon, aka Anenon. The budding experimental electronics label has its own impressive roster of artists, ranging from a.d.l.r's classically-informed warped beats on "Foam on the Waves of Space-Time" to the harp-driven folk of Ana Caravelle's "Basic Climb." Seemed like nobody in the audience had seen the multi-instrumentalist live before, because everyone looked confused (but excited!) when he started playing his saxophone over his beats.
makes beats heavily informed by video games like fellow Wedidit collective member JonWayne, who raps aggressively on "Shlava" off his debut Ground Is Lava
, released by FoF in April. He's clearly influenced by early Japanese RPGs and 8-bit production but the twenty-year-old producer managed to avoid making these familiar beats sound weary with his compositional skills.
|Baths and Shlohmo|
Baths' electronic-based orchestral pop debut Cerulean was one of the most celebrated releases on 2010. After touring non-stop for a solid year straight, playing sold-out shows all over the world, Baths still looked as excited and nervous as a musician with far less experience. His last L.A. show was a stripped down piano/vox-only set at Futura, so Saturday night was a much-appreciated return to the dreamy electronics that made him a rising star.
Visual artist turned musician Shlohmo's set was the most highly anticipated of the night. He's got more Lil B in his arsenal than you could ever imagine, and he also steps comfortably into Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame. For the second part of his set, Shlohmo said he was going to play some "weird stuff." And by "weird stuff," he meant tracks off his new LP Bad Vibes, out August 8th on Friends of Friends. His first full-length--which builds on his Places EP--might just be the best beat album of the year.
L.A. by way of San Francisco artist/producer Salva followed Shlohmo. The Frite Nite founder is perhaps the artist with the highest international profile on the FoF label with his debut Complex Housing. He got started around 1AM, after the weak (or at least less-committed) had already headed home, for the most funky, bass-heavy set of the evening.
|Mexicans with Guns|
Ernest Gonzales, also known as his masked alter-ego Mexicans with Guns, closed with a rapidfire barrage of samples, hitting hardest with a remix of his nefarious "Highway to Hell" off Ceremony, the San Antonio native's debut for Innovative Leisure/Friends of Friends, featuring Bun B and Freddie Gibbs proclaiming "I'm a no good sinner."
The only way the night could've been better was if Daedelus had played a set (you may have seen him in the crowd smiling as he watched the young beatmakers he's supported over the last couple years). An all-around success for L.A. staple Friends of Friends.