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Laurel Halo — Chance of Rain (2013)

 Laurel Halo — Chance of Rain (2013)

USA Flag         Laurel Halo — Chance of Rain
ΔΔ      Laurel Halo's dreamy electronic pop is inspired by Steve Reich, Detroit techno, and science fiction.
ΔΔ      “The individual is inside of the other, and the other is inside of the individual, and these are three individuals…” — Jean-Luc Godard, Film Socialisme
Also known as: King Felix, Ina Cube
STYLES: proto-absolute music, post-ambient 
OTHERS: Aphex Twin, Actress, Lee Gamble, Arvo Pärt
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan ~ New York
Album release: October 2013
Record Label: Hyperdub
Duration:     50:17
01 Dr. Echt     1:38 
02 Oneiroi     7:34 
03 Serendip     6:29 
04 Chance of Rain     7:36 
05 Melt     2:21 
06 Still/Dromos     3:51 
07 Thrax     5:55 
08 Ainnome     7:14 
09 -Out     1:30
Δ   Rashad Becker  Cut, Mastering
Δ   Arthur Chatow  Artwork
Δ   Laurel Halo  Composer, Primary Artist
Δ   Bill Kouligas  Layout
Album Moods: Dreamy Fantastic/Fantasy-like Fractured Hypnotic Spacey Tense/Anxious Threatening Bleak Cerebral Weary Trippy Turbulent Unsettling Intense Nervous/Jittery
Themes: Late Night SciFi Solitude Dreaming Stay in Bed
by Larry Day, 21 October 2013, Rating: 8.5/10
Δ   It may only be a scant almost-but-not-quite six months since Laurel Halo released her lauded EP Behind The Green Door, but she’s powered through over the summer and whipped up a delicious serving of music in the form of her sophomore LP, labelled Chance of Rain.
Δ   The NYC-based Ann Arbour native has astounded onlookers multiple times with her skewed take on ambient dance, UK/Detroit techno and electronica. At times, she can twist and contort the conventions of chosen genres, alienating listeners, but when she’s feeling less avant-garde, her noises divulge an indulgent hedonism.
Δ   On Chance Of Rain Halo takes established musical styles, and put them through a savage gauntlet of bedroom-producer FX, genre fluxing, and mad scientist experiments, blurring the lines between the banal and the surreal, between the mundane and the transcendental. Take Halo’s ‘Thrax’. It’s a techno-meets-trance neo-dance belter, with squirming, screwball samples that sound like someone drowning Imogen Heap’s ‘Hide and Seek’ in lime jelly, jerky phaser blasts ricocheting off arrhythmic steel pans and engorged synths growing and shrinking like a blood blister. It’s equal measures effervescent wobble and rank’n'file sonic beigeness, making something uniquely psychological – it fades into the background easy enough, but then Orbital-esque squelches and frenetic robotic ephemera ensure the cut lurches back into your frontal lobe.
Δ   It doesn’t just stop there. ‘Dr. Echt’ sounds like stepping into an instalment of the Ecco franchise. Enchanting, globules of synth flubble around and meander through a belligerent briny; Halo’s effort is similar atonal, mystical and unnerving. Efforts like ‘Melt’ sound like the mid-nightmare inspiration of Wes Craven put to music — art-classical styles blends with droning synths, darkwave clarinets and sampled rainstorms. Δ   It’s desolate, devoid of identity and unhinged. ‘Ainnome’ ventures towards the rhythmic zone of drum’n'bass, though there’s plenty of ambient pad haze to marvel at too. It’s a minimalist track, but the soft, clean bass and stuttering beats ensure that it’s not an aural wasteland.
Δ   Halo’s euphoric vacation into a wealth of electronic styles yields results that range from pretty great to flamin’ epic. It’s not an album for the vanilla of heart — hooks are scattered conservatively, even the dance elements are fractured and it’s often a disorienting listen — but within these cavalier experiments lays Halo’s charm. Somehow, through some strange supernatural prowess, she unfurls something wholly addictive and endearing. Not endearing like a fluffy puppy or a basket of kittens, but more like a baby lizard. Not everyone’s going to find it cute and approachable, but those that do will love it unrequitedly.
Δ   Chance Of Rain careens through a dance chicane, weaving between the lands of pop excess and minimalist ambience; it’s never still for long enough to be fully pigeonholed, merely slotting partially into pigeoncaverns (which are much larger). It’s a record crammed with sonic delights for those with a penchant for the deranged or for those needing a soundtrack for nefarious activities. It’s dark and malevolent, and weird and obtuse – amidst all the oddities it proffers, you’ll still be hypnotised onto the dancefloor as if Laurel Halo was the Pied Piper of Hamelin and Chance Of Rain were her magic pipe. (http://thefourohfive.com/)
Artist Biography by Heather Phares
Δ   Inspired by Steve Reich, Detroit techno, a six-month stint in Thailand, and science fiction, Laurel Halo crafts lush, electronic avant pop that is as theoretical as it is playful. Δ   An Ann Arbor, Michigan native and Brooklyn resident, Halo began playing piano at age six and added guitar and violin to her repertoire while still a child. However, she didn't begin composing until she was 19, using not only the classical theory of her childhood but her fascination with translating geometric shapes like arcs and domes into music and the sounds she absorbed as a free-form DJ at the University of Michigan’s radio station WCBN as touchstones for her work. She released several EPs from 2006 to 2009, including The Future Fruit and 2009’s Ambrosia EP (from which two songs were remixed by Mogi Grumbles a year later). Halo's breakthrough release, however, was 2010's King Felix EP. Inspired by Philip K. Dick's novel VALIS, the EP was released by Hippos in Tanks — also home to GAMES, Sun Araw, and Oneohtrix Point Never — which she wrote, arranged, performed, and produced on her own. Halo maintained a busy schedule; she collaborated with her labelmates GAMES and issued another Hippos in Tanks EP, Hour Logic, in 2011. The following April, she issued the three-track 12" Spring, the inaugural release for Mute's Liberation Technologies subsidiary, as King Felix. The disquieting album Quarantine arrived two months later on Hyperdub and was named album of the year by The Wire. Her next album, Chance of Rain, followed on Hyperdub in October 2013.
Review by Andy Kellman; Score: ***½
Δ   During the first half of 2013, Laurel Halo followed Quarantine, a polarizing album placed at number one on The Wire's releases of the year feature for 2012, with her second and third releases for Hyperdub. First, there was "Sunlight on the Faded," an inviting vocal track, and then there was the Behind the Green Door, an alternately raw and oddly pacifying four-track EP of instrumentals. The latter pointed the way toward Chance of Rain, which doesn't seem to have any thematic continuity with Halo's gleaming Hour Logic highlight "Speed of Rain." The album could be shaped into an EP of steely, hard-hitting dancefloor techno, but it would require the stripping of several layers and the removal of so many twists and turns. Opened with a short, seemingly off-the-cuff piece led by electric piano, and closed with an acoustic piece of similar length and lightness, the album contains some of Halo's least colorful yet most imaginative material. Two of the earlier tracks are among the album's most challenging. Δ   "Oneiroi" is mostly agitated percussion and sweeping effects, while "Serendip" churns and stirs with muffled bass drums and dulled pings. The later likes of "Chance of Rain" and "Thrax," however, are thrillingly active. The former sternly trucks with an electric piano pattern that seems obtrusive at first but essential by the time the beat exits. "Thrax" is something else, full of superbly warped swarming sounds over rhythms that seem to gather momentum with each measure. Halo's voice is never heard — likely a relief for those who found Quarantine too unsettling — but this is about as jolly as the cover illustration, drawn by her father.
Website: http://www.laurelhalo.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurelhalo
Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/LAURELHALO
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LAURELHALO
Press: US Press US Radio UK Press/Radio EU Aja
Agent: UK&EU US
Andrew Gaerig; October 30, 2013, Score: 7.4
Δ   http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/18678-laurel-halo-chance-of-rain/
Δ   http://www.tinymixtapes.com/music-review/laurel-halo-chance-of-rain
— Quarantine (Hyperdub, 2012)
— Chance of Rain (Hyperdub, 2013)
Singles and EPs:
— King Felix EP (Hippos in Tanks, 2010)
— Hour Logic EP (Hippos In Tanks, 2011)
— Antenna EP (NNA Tapes, 2011)
— "Sunlight on the Faded" (Hyperdub, 2012)
— Behind the Green Door EP (Hyperdub, 2013)
— FRKWYS Vol. 7: Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo and Lopatin (RVNG Intl., 2011)

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