Laurel Halo returns to Hyperdub for her third LP with a fresh approach and a new sound. Routed out of the electronic abstraction of 2015’s In Situ - but with clear reference to 2012's sleeper-hit Quarantine - Dust is an album revolving around loose and languid songs; warped, sun-filled, melted and at times, heavy-hearted and obscure.
Recorded over a period of two years, the writing process began at EMPAC in upstate New York in January 2015. With access to microphones, percussion, keys and a wide range of routings, Laurel spent days alone in the cavernous space, later inviting musicians Eli Keszler and Lafawndah to join her there.
Those sessions would eventually become this album: a collection of breezy, broken songs, based on woody instrumentation, sub bass and restless, intricate electronics. Earnest songwriting meets with modal cut-up strategies, improvisational playing with higrade digital dust. Tactile and fibrous throughout the record, the vocals and percussion coalesce and breathe life into each other. Swung grooves eddy and collapse; acoustic drums are warped into sensual, febrile melodies.
The lyrics are themselves bricolage, without a specific narrator or place in time. They slip in and out of view, something that is visualised in the album’s inner panel. Extending the influence, the album opener ‘Sun To Solar’ is an adaptation of 'Servidão de Passagem' by Brazilian concrete poet Haroldo de Campos. In line with the album’s sound, Dust is 'Laurel Halo' as a flexible cast of characters.
Filled with dialogue, the album helms an interchangeable ensemble of vocalists and musicians, featuring vocals from Klein, Lafawndah, and Michael Salu, as well as musicians such as Eli Keszler, Craig Clouse ($hit and $hine), Julia Holter, Max D, Michael Beharie and Diamond Terrifier.
Laurel’s omnivorous influences play out in mutated fashion - coalesced, unfettered and inclusive - a broad musical palette free from entrenched modes, catalysed by digital production that could only happen in 2017.
Tracklisting: Side A: 1.Sun to Solar 2.Jelly 3.Koinos 4.Arschkriecher 5.Moontalk 6.Nicht Ohne Risiko
Side B: 1.Who Won? 2.Like an L 3.Syzygy 4.Do U Ever Happen 5. Buh-bye
‘Heart’ is visual artist Jesse Kanda’s first musical release. “OK, here is my humble attempt to try and put these songs in context .. to reflect and describe what they mean to me : ‘Axolotl’ is like a chant for giving it your best try.
‘Womb’ is maybe like the moment you’re out and you hear the world unmuffled.
‘Wings’ is like a conversation .. maybe with yourself, maybe between two aspects of you, or with another spirit.
‘Feline’ is sensual like a courtship. ‘Heart’ is losing someone you love and your self. And on the sound of these melodies : My work might sometimes be coated with a layer of sharp pain like a blade to the eye or ears.
But at the heart of it is always love, compassion, empathy. I think this coating is created to protect itself, like the walls of a womb, or armour. the same way that what’s within us can protect itself and can be hard to crack.
It’s kinda in my nature to always try and turn this stuff inside out and expose it. Each of the songs on this EP have this quality. The melodies are treated to cut you like a serrated knife. But hopefully they are beautiful enough that you’d want to listen anyway. Thank you.”
DJ Taye is welcomed back to Hyperdub for his second EP on the label after last year’s popular ‘Break It Down’ EP and a North American tour with Jessy Lanza. The ‘Move Out’ EP is a masterclass in a distinctly soulful, dusky footwork sound with a melancholic undercurrent that’s crossed with a precise eye for detail.
‘Burnin Ya Boa’ ft DJ Manny opens the EP with a crisp, micro-edited arrangement of tumbling piano, dubbed out chants and a heart-tugging woodwind melody playing hide and seek with racing, ever-changing footwork drum and bass patterns.
‘Go 2 Sleep’ ft DJ Earl rolls with a narcoleptic woody percussion loop, and a vocal urging “Please go to sleep”, a request which is challenged with drill sounds, rave stabs, energetic footwork drums, and soft bass tones.
The super minimal ‘I Need I Want‘ ft DJ Manny & DJ Spinn takes a house acapella and spins it into something more urgent and compulsive, the vocalist’s insistent, addicted pleas met with a downcast, tumbling melody.
‘Move Out’ ends the EP on a brighter note, with big Detroit techno chords and a warm Moog-like solo-cum-melody.
The ‘Move Out’ EP is just a taster for the avalanche of new DJ Taye material forthcoming in 2017.
Tracklisting: Side A: 1. Burnin Ya Boa (ft. DJ Manny) 2. Go 2 Sleep (ft. DJ Earl)
Side B: 1. I Need I Want (ft. DJ Manny & DJ Spinn) 2. Move Out