ZHU Unveils Grace: A Journey Into the Next Frontier of House Music
September 26, 2023
September 26, 2023
Los Angeles-based producer, Joe Boston, or better known as Shallou, has been turning out introspective melodic treasures since 2014. His sound and aesthetic are enough to turn listeners into putty as they sit back and find themselves in the ambient house melodies and carefully-written vocals. And Shallou knows how to transform sound from a variety of different genres and bend them to hit that spot inside your soul that makes your throat catch and hair raise. His life was always surrounded by music too, with a father who played Radiohead and Wilco when he was a kid to being inspired by James Blake and Gold Panda. That then transferred into his productions as Shallou.
He’s carved a distinct niche in the indie electronic scene being noticed by Billboard, Sirius XM, The Fader, Hype Machine and more. 2016 singles, “Heights” and “Doubt,” reached thousands of streams and top chart positions. His presence is almost ethereal, as is his sound. He debuted his EP, All Becomes Okay, which is available stream across all platforms and to download from his website. 100% of the profits from the EP go directly to the Environmental Defense Fund, making Shallou a singer, songwriter, producer, and environmentalist that’s changing the world one beat at a time. Shallou played at Coachella and Lollapalooza this year and will be making a stop at Tucson’s own Dusk Music Festival. With the busy decade coming to a close in just a couple months, here are five tracks to slow you down, quiet your mind, and immerse you into Shallou’s glittering world.
1) This track is a part of the Souls EP which released in April 2018. It’s a dreamy seven-track compilation that highlights the ability Shallou has to pair genres with one another. It’s a romantic story of the intricacies of relationships. And it’s easy to get carried away by the ambiance that until you really pay attention to the lyrics do you understand the complexity of each track. “Skin” starts with light piano notes and vocals that truly carry you away on a soft cloud. Each note is like a whisper of each other.
In an interview with Dancing Astronaut, Shallou said, “The idea of ‘Souls’ came from this idea of collaboration and exploring the intimacy of a relationship with the help of other artists and singers. Each song has its own story of love blooming or caught in flux, some lyrics expressing concrete emotions (“Lie”; “You and Me”) and some more ethereal concepts (“Vignette”, “Sigh”).
2) “count on” featuring colin is a late-night drive tune that can be a real tear-jerker. It’s one of those soul finding songs that starts slow and builds in a way that you might anticipate but matched with the vocals and airiness, it becomes something new and different. Happy thoughts mixed with the darker ones drive this song into something ultimately beautiful.
3) Of course, ambient indie house lovers treasure the one and only Petit Biscuit. His sound is so vivacious and groovy while still being introspective it’s impossible not to be in love. Shallou remixed his single “Problems” with that same idea in mind, but with his own Shallou spin. It drops into that airiness we hear in every other track while adding a little funk to keep the BPMs up. Shallou plus Petit Biscuit births something new as you close your eyes and dance alone in your room. Spin to this one and the “Problems” will seem to float away.
4) This collaboration with RKCB is otherworldly. If you don’t know the group, they produce in the same vein as many of the other indie electronic connoisseurs with vocals that seem to melt through your speakers and bass-heavy R&B beats. But this one with Shallou is as vibrant and glittering as ever. “Slow” makes us want to walk the beach on a misty day and listen to the water roll over the sand as we imagine ourselves in an indie movie. Still, the emotions this track evokes are as real as ever.
5) Featuring Wales, “Begin” is a gentle, yet entrancing piece that truly reaches the height of Shallou’s intense dreamlike state. When you find out his label is called Sleeptalker, it makes sense especially when listening to songs like this. You might notice that Shallou’s tracks are a lush forest of fantastical elements that translate into his production, aesthetic, and sound. It’s no mistake this environmentalist crafts his sound with the world in mind. It’s easy to imagine being immersed in nature and fold into a sense of calm that quiets even the loudest mind.
Shallou’s peaceful ambiance will be taking the stage at Dusk Music Festival on November 9th. Be sure to grab tickets and get lost in his music.