How do you throw an album launch party for an artist who's still relatively unknown to your label's core audience? Stack the lineup with familiars, of course. The Friends of Friends Tomas Barfod album release shindig at LA's Echoplex was a tight-knit affair, with a good portion of the label's Los Angeles roster represented in Groundislava, Salva and Shlohmo.
First up was Running Back signee Suzanne Kraft, who played a live set of bumping, analogue house to a slowly filling room. That they not only seemed to dig the housier sounds but multiplied with every glance was impressive for a set that started at the ungodly early hour of 9 PM. Following Kraft was Friends of Friends friend Groundislava with another live set, and this one had the chiptune-savvy producer fully embracing house for the evening, showcasing material from a forthcoming EP, where snapping rhythms were embellished with alternately searing and euphoric 8-bit synth washes.
Wild card Salva came up to a healthily-sized crowd, dropping a typically restless set of bass music, hip-hop and house, noodling with a synth for some especially fist-pumping moments. But the night was about Tomas Barfod, and the WhoMadeWho member played an extended DJ set of surprisingly hard, bass-heavy material that went down a storm with a crowd likely more primed on dubstep and hip-hop inflected variations of the stuff. While the Danish producer did throw in flavours that sounded more European than the others on the bill, his set featured a remarkable amount of ghetto house and hip-hop, including the debut of his apocalyptic edit of Tyga's "Rack City," an olive branch extended to the American audience that was received with frenzied enthusiasm.
Making a late entrance in rock star fashion, Shlohmo walked on stage to uproarious response from an adoring crowd, and the rising star had a surprising air of celebrity around him. It was easy to see why once he started playing—his uneven, herky-jerk set saw tempos jump around almost at random as the young LA prodigy mixed his own tracks and chopped-and-screwed others, but as you could tell from the rapturous crowd, Shlohmo's bizarre blend of gloomy melodies and creaky rhythms really comes to life in a club setting. Above all, the night was a great indicator of how deeply house is infiltrating even the most remote sectors of the bass music community.