Jonah Bromwich got a paper cut while writing this.
Go ahead, mourn the loss of collective DIY spaces like 285 Kent and Industry City. Indeed, the shuttering of these spaces and communities underscores the more ominous creep of gentrification, a problem so serious that even major city governments are beginning to acknowledge it.
But we should also celebrate those spaces we do have, and as Los Angeles continues to transform itself into a new creative mecca, more and more artists are flourishing within its musical enclaves. That’s certainly true of the Low End Theory club, which has given light now to several micro-generations of artists, and whose many pillars— including Gaslamp Killer, Daddy Kev and Flying Lotus –continue to inspire.
A Flying Lotus mentee, the electronic producer Liphemra started making music when she was just 12. In a recent email exchange, she proudly identified as “a Low End kid” who grew up on the club’s output. She says that Lotus has been there for her “since the beginning, when the name Liphemra was just a thought.”
That influence is obvious on her new song “bandaid,” a grungy self-produced cut that solders a Kilo Kish-style whine onto a thumping electronic beat, combining the production styles of artists like The Internet and Astronautica. It’s creative incest, in the best way possible: siblings in the progressive electronic scene parroting and warping each others’ sounds
The 22-year-old Liphemra, who is hoping to keep her government name anonymous for as long as possible, started as a drummer when she was just 12 years old, but has only recently turned to production.
“I didn’t have the ability to record full drums where I live, so I demoed songs I wanted to play live with my band and ended up liking the way it sounded,” she said. “Never thought of myself as a producer before but I do love hip hop so I guess I just fell into it.”
Her relative freshness gives “bandaid” a spontaneous, relaxed feel that contrasts nicely with the blaring intensity of the song’s backdrop. But perhaps the most exciting part of the song is its extended bridge, a melodic counterpoint to the original beat, reminiscent of Pharrell’s cathartic passage on Anti-Matter.
Liphemra is already on the industry’s radar. She has been featured in the pages of The Fader and Impose Magazine, and opened some shows for Jessy Lanza, for the Los Angeles leg of the singer’s recent mini-tour in advance of her upcoming mixtape, set to arrive on April 1st. But thankfully, she’s still got the nonchalant attitude of the gifted newcomer, still unconcerned with the pressures of the industry. When I asked how the spot opening for Lanza came about, she seemed completely unconcerned.
“Not sure?” she wrote. “Just got asked. Guess she dug our stuff.”