Laurel Halo Laurel HaloHour Logic EP
HIPPOS IN TANKS (HIT9, 12” + digital)
There’s a lot of distance between “King Felix EP”, which arrived just in time to be among the best works of 2010, and this “Hour Logic EP”, which adds a new dimension to the work of New York artist Laurel Halo. Not only has little over six months gone by since that debut in the wake of the Oneohtrix Point Never hype and the critical acclaim Hippos In Tanks was receiving, Laurel’s sound has expanded, too, towards territories that weren’t even in sight before. While at first we were dealing with a kind of high priestess of sleepy pop, a weaver of moods, echoing voices and distorted reality effects, now we get a more solid version of that tenuous landscape. Who would have thought that Laurel’s techno fan background was going to show with such precision and lack of friction in her hypnagogic style? And yet, there’s “Acquifer”, the unexpected opening track of a 12” that must be listened to with a different set of ears.
There’s no violent transformation, no metamorphosis. If you get the digital version of the release, you’ll find a pure ambient fantasy at the end, “Strength In Free Space”, which drifts towards the amniotic peace of Daniel Lopatin’s “Returnal”, a cosmic incursion that marks a connection with the starting point. But everything else on the other five tracks is escapist: on “Acquifer” there is a direct link with old British techno, and Laurel’s voice doesn’t appear until “Constant Index”, although there are some intelligent techno textures (R&S-Warp-style) as well, only with a heavenly shoegaze overcoat. The beats throughout the whole of “Head” (seven minutes of muffled bass drums, the sound of a rave in a bubble), and on “Speed Of Rain”, apart from psychedelic, she goes all tribal, only to end with the nine minutes of “Hour Logic”, which could be one of the hypnotic new tracks by Global Communication. This is certainly not the Laurel Halo we would at first expect, but it’s a Laurel Halo who opens her music to an endless amount of new possibilities. I like this transformation.