Smoke curls from emanuel’s lips as a slowed Vic Mensa coos. “I just think it’s an entirely different song now. It like really enhances the songcraft and all the sounds, and his words, and his sexiness, and the mood.” We’re reaching the end of the new mixtape sL-wgod that my bodily manifestation Mr. vinson has just put out. He starts it over.
What is sL-wGod?
Well, all the internet shit calls it a “slolo journey through the heavens”
What does that mean?
It means I started slowing pop songs with my friends a few years ago, we put out a tape called .slowbro.. I picked up my slowing technique from Walker, who was really the guiding force, to me, throughout the whole… thing. He started doing something cool and it blew me away, and we had made music before, and yeah.
I started using the things they didn’t fuck with in my own production. At this point I can say it feels transcendent to me. It’s a meditation on and expression of so many things. And sL-wGod is a beautiful manifestation of all these processes, techniques, and emotions that I’ve been cultivating and harvesting over the past couple years. It’s an adventure, a pure expression of me, but without me having to say a word. Which is important to me right now.
What kinds of techniques?
Blind composition, improvisation, silence.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like everything I do is dope as soon as I think of it, so I do it. Whether I’m about to write a sentence or start a song, I have made so much music and written so many poems and felt transcendent because of it so many times, and worked so hard on my craft, and found appreciation in so many mutually respected peers, and humans that I have no fear. I mean, I have a lot of fears, but when it comes to what I believe in, my expression, I’ve gotten to a point of development where I know how to make myself happy.
I know what samples to use, I know the appropriate mic quality, I know what patiences to have. So when I made sL-wGod, I had been actively planning it and kind of brainstorming for months, promoting it for weeks, compiling materials for years since the .slowbro. project, but it wasn’t til Monday that I knew exactly what I wanted to do, spent 45 minutes doing it, and put it out two days later.
James Blake inspired me to start using silences when I heard his debut album. Around that time, I started experimenting with hollowness and gaps in sound. When I was making i’m starting to believe this summer, the tiny gaps in sound that occurred in playback when my laptop’s capabilities weren’t able to keep up with Ableton’s demands started exciting me. I started leaving them in.
Since before Blake, too, a few years ago, on an album’s “final” track I left the recorder running and random instruments started firing off from the netheregions of the timeline where I had left like…loops and shit that I was figuring out. I let it play out, and eventually hit record again and freestyled over the end of the song, which changed the end of the album completely right before I put it out prolly the next day.
I do that a lot now, it’s a common compositional technique. Sometimes that includes silences, but it also brings us to
Blind composition and improvisation
Doing i’m starting to believe I wanted to make something like Elephant 6 collage pop records I’d heard in my yute and always wanted to emulate. I also didn’t want to get stage fright from returning from hiatus. So my composition style became fluid in many ways, you hear samples recurring throughout the first 14 minutes because I’m making the songs in real time, or so it felt. Now I’ve gotten even faster.
I didn’t hear a single second of sL-wGod’s music until I woke up in the morning and put it on my phone. Except for the older material I had heard, some of which I didn’t even remember making, I was just compiling the songs and organizing them, figuring out how I wanted to cut them up. It happened so fast that I remembered, “yes, the shimmering Mylo montage” but some samples I can’t recognize. It’s a mystery to me, these songs I’m making are sprawling mysteries to me and yet they are poignant and powerful and me, and beautiful and cutting edge and still make sense.
They make sense like watching some crazy fish on Blue Planet; with a significant amount of direction and intention I create a bubble of chaos that harmonizes into something alien and still impossibly tender and compassionate. sL-wGod feels sad, it feels familiar, it sprawls, it thrills with simple 4/4 synths, it’s just a slowed down Chris Brown song, but it’s also a cog of a compositional marvel, it’s also black power, it’s also IDM, and EDM, it’s cripplingly blind poptimism + avant garde = pulp fiction.
Last couple things:
I fucking love sL-wGod
Spoiler alert for processes/samples:
A guy at the Chicago Diner, he works there, we’re all friendly-ish, and he tells me again that the name of that soundcloud artist is The Code. Tracks 4 and 5. I put them in there somewhere, they fit perfectly into where they are. A few of the singer’s words before the cut say the name of the next sample, one that fits and shifts their mood slightly but is from a completely different artist. I still have never actually listened to The Code.
Standing by a fire I asked Alex Goldin, amazing painter, what his favorite song was. He sends it to me that night/morning, I put it in without hearing it. It’s the opening to the album, “Hello Jesus. Je
This is just me writing now.
We want you to listen to sL-wGod, and follow your dreams to eternal peace, with or without it. But sL-wGod is a part of you.