D33J: DEATH VALLEY OASIS

September 7th, 2017 | Album reviews



D33J
Death Valley Oasis
anticon.

Death Valley Oasis may be D33J’s debut LP, but by no means is Djavan Santos a “new artist.” A member of Shlohmo’s WEDIDIT collective/label, Santos has built up a repertoire of EPs on the storied anticon. label, as well as lending his synth-laden instrumental hip-hop to everyone from Shlo himself to new-school rap stars like Tory Lanez and Lil’ Yachty. But rather than a collection of beats, Death Valley Oasis is a deep dive into D33J’s dark, romantic soundworld, sifting through fragments of hazy r&b, dub techno, and ambient pop, all polished to sublime beauty. “Endless Fall” and “Plateau” are hazy club waltzes with Santos crooning over pulverizing kick drums and delicate guitar—a disorienting mixture at first, but it’s held together by D33J’s voice. This is the most confident he’s ever sounded on his own tunes, and the newfound clarity suits him well. His anticon. cohorts Deradoorian and Baths contribute guest vocals as well, on atmospheric bangers “Spark” and “Wisp,” respectively. Deradoorian’s cut is the kind of narcotic-but-anxious slow jam often put out by Night Slugs, while former Hamilton High classmate Baths takes a more offbeat approach: “Keep your voices down…” he repeats over a pulsing house track, eventually dissolving into wordless harmony as D33J slices up his sighs and spreads them like butter. “Rot,” D33J’s collaboration with Shlohmo and Soundcloud sensation Corbin, is one of the most gleefully terrifying tracks you’ll hear all year, a nightmarish blend of fireside acoustic guitar, Corbin’s tortured moans, and codeine-soaked bass, capped off by a computerized sludge-metal coda. Corbin’s debut Mourn is produced entirely by Shlohmo and D33J himself, and is set to drop just days before Death Valley Oasis. It seems like Santos will be seeing a lot of action this fall, and we’ll be getting a lot of D33J. Fair trade.

—Zachary Bilson

D33J’S DEATH VALLEY OASIS IS OUT FRI., SEPT. 8, ON ANTICON.