Laurel Halo has recorded for Hyperdub in the past so that should be a good enough recommendation. Her new 12”, In Situ, is out on Honest Jon’s -- the label co-run by Damon Albarn. She is an electronic musician from Ann Arbor, Michigan and has been creating waves since her critically acclaimed Quarantine album in 2012. In Situ links the man-made to mother nature with organic beats and melodies that breathe out from the electronic backdrop.
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‘In Situ’ is the third album from Ann Arbor’s Laurel Halo and follows a pair of critically acclaimed albums for Hyperdub. This time around Honest Jon’s do the honours with a record that on the surface may appear deceptively simple.
On first listen don’t be surprised if ‘In Situ’ washes straight over you; it certainly did for me and had I not been given the task to write a few words about it I may not have even bothered revisiting it. Thankfully I have -- a number of times. Repeated plays reveal satisfying nuances -- little details that appeared to be previously hidden. The magic of this record for me is its subtlety and a sort Déjà vu quality where there’s something that feels familiar yet simultaneously fresh. Although this is clearly electronic music i.e the sounds are synthetic, they have a very organic earthy feel to them that really resonates. Having said all that I still really can’t put my finger on what’s so alluring so I guess it’s down to you to use your own ears.
There’s elements of techno, house and bass music but none really utilized in the traditional sense. For example ‘Nah’ sounds like SND were they using pieces of wood and stones as sound sources instead of drum machines. At times it really feels like her machines have a life of their own where nothing is rigidly stuck to a grid, things seem to wander and flow freely. The African inspired rhythms almost feel like they’re being played live rather than the usual techno methodology of layering loops. There’s this juxtaposition of the primitive and the advanced - like music from the future beamed back in time.
'In Situ' is playful, funky and most certainly danceable; although I think this demands the creation of some new previously unseen dance moves. It’d be great to see how people move their bodies to this blasting through a big system. Although equally as pleasurable consumed at home. Refreshing stuff.
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- In Situ by Laurel Halo
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