Review: Laurel Halo - Chance of Rain


'Chance of Rain' will be released on Hyperdub on 28 October 2013. Stream the album here:

On her forthcoming second LP, experimental maven Laurel Halo designs soundscapes that bear testament to her growth as a musician. Now based in New York and from Ann Arbor, Michigan, the classically trained and now golden girl of electronic music has been releasing music since 2009 on labels Hyperdub and Liberation Technologies.

Released on London’s bass music label, Hyperdub, 'Chance of Rain' reveals Halo’s Detroit and UK techno influences, with facets of break-beat and drum & bass.

The vision of decay and hope underpinning this album is consistent throughout, evident in its titular track. An unerring jungle-esque thumping bass-line duels with analogue atmospherics, as maniac beats jostle to keep up the energy and pace until 'Chance of Rain' finally relents to the piano’s pacifying echoes.

'Thrax' conjures an insectoid menace with a warped bass workout, overlaid with skittish stabs at its veneer in an icy stoicism. Mellow chimes add depth and a sonorous flavour against the mildly disconcerting rustle of metallic pulses and gut-wrenching resonance across the bass space.

Some psychelic elements are also woven into the construct of 'Serendip'. The tracks opens with the quiver of a lone bead, bouncing off a membrane held taut against an undertow of arpeggios licking at the feet of a turbid bass-line. Waves of spectral drones slither across, transmitting shivers of warm and cool paranoia.

Her much-lauded debut release, 'Quarantine' (Hyperdub 2012), was a gem, even named #1 Album of the Year by The Wire Magazine – submerged sounds and beguiling vocals unravelling under the strain of an infinite ambient expanse. Brutal and exquisite, disquieting and magnificent, all at once.

While 'Quarantine' had been meticulously crafted and recorded in a studio, 'Chance of Rain' features a rhythmic shift towards live improvisations.

As Halo explains, “Sequences were made from scratch for live performances, then reconfigured to be synthesized as individual tracks, and then an album.”

The result is an almost primal metamorphosis. ‘Chance of Rain’ is rich in ambivalent impulses that come together in a thrilling tension to inspire a sense of dialogue and movement.

Of special note, her album cover is designed by her father in the 70s.

01. Dr. Echt

02. Oneiroib

03. Serendip

04. Chance of Rain

05. Melt
06. Still/Dromos

07. Thrax

08. Ainnome

09. -Out