il:lo • Frameworks + more • The Den Portland, OR

April 24, 2024
April 24, 2024
Get Info & Tickets

4•25•24 • THE DEN • 116 SE Yamhill Street • 21+ w/ ID


Brought to you by Tiger Fox & Soul'd Out Presents

Main Stage - L Acoustic Sound System

⫷ il:lo ⫸ 11:45PM - 1:15AMSOUNDCLOUD | INSTAGRAM


⫷ TBA ⫸
9:15PM - 10:15PM



Formed over a decade ago in Prague, Dejan Dejado and Andreas Schütz of il:lo work across borders, time, and space (one lives in Berlin while the other currently lives in the south of France), sending snippets and tracks back and forth until they’re happy with them.

Following on the heels of 2019’s Sloh and their recent collaborations with Anjunadeep (2021 EP release Meliadi), and support tours with Parra For Cuva, Stimming, Janus Rasmussen, CloZee and Zimmer, comes the duo’s latest effort Myriad. The EP gently pushes at the boundaries and expectations of what il:lo is and can be. With Myriad, the aim was to make something that still had that undeniable il:lo essence, but that pushed them slightly further into a more deep house, danceable sound.

The architecture that features on the covers of Myriad and its singles are also as integral to the project as the music itself. While sending their work back and forth between each other, they were engaged in a process of stripping out the excess so that they were left with only the most essential and emotive parts of the track; similarly, the architecture that adorns their covers is powerful in its simplicity and makes you stop and consider it from another angle. Stripping things back most often reveals their power.


“I had to learn to get out of my own way,” says Matthew James Brewer, the British songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist better known as Frameworks. “Instead of going out there chasing after songs, I had to learn to sit still and be present enough to let them come to me.”

In that sense, Reflections, Frameworks’ entrancing new LP, is as much a work of cultivation as it is craftsmanship, a meditative exercise in tuning into the subconscious and capturing moments as they arrive. Recorded at home and primarily alone, the album is spare and hypnotic, eschewing the ornate orchestration of earlier Frameworks albums in favor of a lean, direct sound more akin to an internal monologue. The songs here mix driving electronic beats with layers of analog synthesizers and chopped up vocal samples, and the production is close-up and intimate to match, swirling around like the kind of late-night thoughts that raise more questions than they answer. The result is a poignant contemplation of growth, purpose, and catharsis built on instinct and intuition, a bittersweet soundtrack for both connection and isolation, for discovery and loss, for the crowded, sweaty dance floor and the long, lonely walk home.

“Even the more club-influenced tracks on this album have an element of vulnerability to them,” explains Brewer. “They might be songs you could dance to, but they’re also songs you could listen to on your headphones in bed well after the rest of the world has gone to sleep.”

Brewer’s been blurring the lines between dreams and reality for most of his career now. A Manchester native, he first rose to fame in 2015 with his critically acclaimed debut, Tides, which brought Frameworks’ cinematic mix of instrumental hip-hop and downtempo, organic house music to an international audience. In the years that followed, Brewer would go on to release two more similarly well-received full length albums, perform everywhere from Coachella to Electric Forest, collaborate with the likes of Ninja Tune’s Jono McCleery and fellow UK standout JP Cooper, and rack up millions of streams across platforms. When the pandemic hit, however, Brewer found himself forced off the road for the first time in years and unsure of what came next.

“I was really inspired by architecture at the time, so I thought I’d make an album called Forms that would be really focused on shape and structure and composition,” he explains. “I dove into it headfirst, but pretty quickly I realized that I was going about it all wrong. The more I forced it, the less natural it felt, and that’s when it became clear to me that I had to stop trying to control everything and just let go.”

And so Brewer slowed down and tuned in, treating his mind more like a receiver than a generator. He held his heart up to the light and examined what he saw: his hopes and desires, his doubts and fears. He reveled in the extra time at home with his family and in the beauty and strength they brought to his daily life.

“My wife and I have a son who was born with mitochondrial disease,” explains Brewer. “They told us he wouldn’t make it to his first birthday, but he’s seven years old now, and though he may be non-verbal, I swear he’s the happiest person I’ve ever met. He’s always present and always inspiring and every day with him is an absolute gift.”

The more Brewer surrendered himself to living in the moment, the more experimental and playful his music became. Songs began pouring out in spontaneous fits driven by emotion rather than intention, and soon a very different album than the one he’d originally imagined started taking shape.

“The best things came very quickly,” he explains. “If you press pause and try to come back to an idea later, it can be hard to get into the same state, so when a song would come to me, I’d just try to lay as much of it down as I could all at once.”

That urgency forms the bedrock of Reflections, which opens with the relentlessly hopeful “Twenty Two.” Inspired by a half-marathon Brewer ran for his son, the track presses forward with a seemingly unstoppable momentum as manipulated vocals skip and dance their way across the surface of the music. Like much of the album, it’s a deeply evocative track, one that manages to create an entire emotional world even without any explicit lyrical narrative. The pulsing “Blue Light” (one of three tracks featuring guest vocals from Australian singer Cleopold) conjures up visions of cruising the empty streets of a city late at night, while the invigorating “Cold” captures the tension and liberation of emotional release, and the mesmerizing “Circles” finds peace and resolve on a journey deeper and deeper inside the self.

“The video for ‘Circles’ depicts a young woman dealing with her own internal struggle,” Brewer explains. “The moments underwater reflect the battle within, and the final scenes show this moment of complete surrender and acceptance.”

Acceptance is an integral notion on Reflections, and it comes up throughout the album. The insistent “No Time,” for instance, circles around the same riff over and over like a mantra in effort to sit with (and welcome) the feelings that emerge; the hazy “Ports” draws inspiration from the strength and resilience of children—not just his own—that Brewer’s seen battle difficult illness with unyielding optimism; and the reassuring “Sleep” works through the stress and anxiety that often leaves us lying awake in the middle of the night.

“I was having real problems falling asleep during the pandemic, and ‘Sleep’ was a direct response to that,” explains Brewer. “I wanted it to feel like a loving arm to wrap around someone struggling with insomnia, a comforting voice to let them know they’re not alone.”

And ultimately, that’s the true magic of Brewer’s music. Though these songs were created in isolation, they remind us of our shared humanity, of the unifying frequencies we can all tap into if we allow ourselves to slow down, be present, and embrace the moment. Still waters, after all, offer the truest reflections.

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4•25•24 • THE DEN • 116 SE Yamhill Street • 21+ w/ ID