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 'ServidÃ£o 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
'Antidawn’ reduces Burial's music to just the vapours. The record explores an interzone between dislocated, patchwork songwriting and eerie, open-world game-space ambience.
In the resulting no man’s land, lyrics take precedence over song, lonely phrases colour the haze, a stark and fragmented structure makes time slow down.
'Antidawn' seems to tell a story of a wintertime city, and something beckoning you to follow it into the night. The result is both comforting and disturbing, producing a quiet and uncanny glow against the cold.
Sometimes, as it enters 'a bad place', it takes your breath away. And time just stops.
Tracklisting: Side A 1. Strange Neighbourhood 2. Antidawn
Side B 1. Shadow Paradise 2. New Love 3. Upstairs Flat
Topping off Hyperdub's 15th year, Burial selects 'tunes'from the last eight years of his EP releases on the label, for this very welcome two CD collection.
Sequenced by Burial, Tunes 2011-2019'shows the depth and brilliance of his post-Untrue'development; from long, twisting, collage works which travel through unexpected zones, to a more pointed, poppier side, and back again to the haunted, open horizons of his beatless pieces.
We hope this collection of Burial's work is familiar, yet unfamiliar, to each listener. 17 tracks across 150 minutes, all previously released, six being available on CD for the first time.
Tracklisting: CD 1 1. State Forest 2. Beachfires 3. Subtemple 4. Young Death 5. Nightmarket 6. Hiders 7. Come Down To Us 8. Claustro 9. Rival Dealer
CD 2 1. Kindred 2. Loner 3. Ashtray Wasp 4. Rough Sleeper 5. Truant 6. Street Halo 7. Stolen Dog 8. NYC
Angel-Ho is known as one of the founders of Non Worldwide, alongside Chino Amobi and Nkisi. Highly regarded as a DJ and electronic music producer, on Death Becomes Her she shifts things up to another level.
Pulling on inspiration from her flamboyant favourites from Lady Gaga, Missy Elliot, and Bjork through to Kanye West, this ambitious, artful and sometimes radical album of neo-pop pushes the pop framework even further, often teetering on the brink of vertiginous chaos and dissonance, whilst slowly revealing its depth and grandeur once you settle into its sound world.
Alongside a cast of collaborators that include French producer Nunu, South African producer Baby Caramel, Asmara Maroof from Nguzunguzu, Bon and Gaika, Angel re-orientates the usual trans-atlantic pop sound to encompass a brace of experimental, diasporic producers to create beats that alternate between angular, propulsive, murky, loose, abrasive and breezy.
On top of these often advanced rhythms, she also raps and sings for the first time with lyrics about love, sex, glamour and struggle, universal fantasies, treated with an ambiguity that restructures the narrative within a trans-identity.
Her choice of guest MCs also reflects this energetic queering with K-$ and Qweezy from Cape Town, plus underground Asian American rapper K-Rizz laying down assertive bars.
On Death Becomes Her', Angel-Ho carves out a new space with her unique take on contemporary pop. Overflowing with charisma, sometimes reminiscent of Grace Jones, this album is fiercely sassy and celebratory. It feels like the start of something very exciting.
Tracklisting: Side A: 1. Business 2. Drama 3. Like A Girl ft. K Rizz 4. Jacomina 5. Muse To You 6. Good Friday Daddy ft. Queezy
Side B: 7. Cupido 8. Live 9. Desity 10. Pose 11. Bussy 12. Baby Tee ft. K-$ 13. Like That 14. Parachute