New artists are fun to watch grow by the inch, and after 2010's intriguing but underachieving Shlomoshun Deluxe, the four-song Places EP is where 20-year-old Henry Laufer comes into clear focus. The title cut is the kind of enchanted stoned murmuring, complete with mic-fell-on-the-floor intro, where the clicks of percussion are similar to that of a Walkman hitting "record." The light-glossolalic vocal isn't inordinately full of itself, the sprinkles of acoustic guitar are chamber-pop hooky, and as it blossoms into some kind of mutant pop, you get the feeling that somewhere DJ Koze is smiling.
The rest of the EP similarly crayons all over distinctions between category types; it's as close to Boards of Canada and The Avalanches as to anything more folk-based, but each track mines its terrain rather nicely. "Forgot I Was Here" recasts what might be one of the hoariest of beat-music standbys, the chimes-loop build-out, into one whose tones seem to ripen as they progress. "Things I Lost" is gamelan dub, taken at a more mournful pace, with occasional vocal chants thrown low into the mix like ghosts; "Empty Pools" pairs dithering folk guitar with enchanting tapes of kids playing.
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Tracklist: Shlohmo - Places EP 01. Places
02. Forgot I Was Here
03. Things I Lost
04. Empty Pools