photo by Phillip Aumann

Laurel Halo ‘Dust’

'Dust' may not be an easy listen at times, but who wants to listen to an album that doesn’t sometimes challenge you?
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It’s the year 2017, and you would hope that discussions about sexism within the music industry would be left firmly in the past. Well, thanks to Giegling co-founder Konstantin’s recent comments regarding female artists, unfortunately we’ve been dragged back in time once again. Thankfully, the outpouring of anger towards these comments from fans and artists from across the globe gives us some some faith that these views are in the vast minority.

One of the many female producers who is showing Konstantin exactly where he can stick his outdated-opinions is Laurel Halo, with her outstanding new album ‘Dust’. Continuing Hyperdub’s run of forward-thinking releases, ‘Dust’ is an album that is incredibly difficult to pin down. Her third full-length album for the London based label is as experimental as its predecessors, but this time around it seems Halo has a little more bounce in her step. Its intermittent, playful instrumentation scatters itself across the loose, jolting rhythms; whilst her hushed vocals have become a main focus of the music, bringing a whole new dynamic to her sound.

‘Dust’ embraces a more melodic, pop style on tracks such as ‘Jelly’. It’s a pop song at heart, but with Halo behind the boards its polished roots become hidden beneath layers of futuristic synths and smatterings of far-out sounds; which shouldn’t work – but somehow they do. There are elements of ghostly jazz and avant-garde oddness on ‘Arschkriecher’ and ‘Who Won?’, with the brass notes sounding as if they are squeezing themselves from within cracks in the wall. ‘Moontalk’ is the album’s most joyful number, with bright synths reminiscent of smashing glass, alongside an African rhythm which is almost impossible to resist.

‘Dust’ is an album that is designed to keep you on your toes. One moment you are bathing in the glow of its melodic warmth, the next, you are taken into a paranoid soundscape which could quite easily be heard in the Red Room from Twin Peaks. It may not be an easy listen at times, but who wants to listen to an album that doesn’t sometimes challenge you?

‘Dust’ is a LP that is stitched together from a wide array of influences; electronica, jazz, pop, classical – the list could go on. It’s an album hard to pigeon-hole, but one thing is for sure, Laurel Halo has created a truly distinctive record which will transport any listener instantly into her unique world.

‘Dust’ is available now via Hyperdub Records.


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