Published on June 6th, 2013 | by Steven Rainey0
Laurel Halo – Behind The Green Door EP
Laurel Halo originally emerged as a late starter in the much maligned chillwave explosion that took place a few years ago, although she could only be marginally associated with most of those acts. For better or worse, chillwave introduced a love of texture and ambience to pop music, allowing people to play about with concepts of time and temperature. Much of chillwave’s output captured a hazy, warm sound, redolent of infinite summer days on the beach, the kind of days most of us never had.
On her latest release, Laurel Halo gives us something else. ‘Throw’ is all chilly, Balearic piano, with a hint of eastern mysticism lurking behind the jagged chords. Whereas early releases like the King Felix EP radiated a kind of electronic heat, chiming and pulsating in their own machinations, ‘Throw’ is angular and foreboding, difficult to connect with, but not unrewarding.
‘Uhffo’ continues this theme, a throbbing beat remaining constant throughout the song, whilst an atonal melody hovers around the edges. Around the halfway mark, lush synth chords begin to envelop the beat, threatening to smother it, but never quite managing it. The repetitive soundscape is hypnotic, like falling asleep in a room of machines, before being transported into a dream.
‘Nofyb’ and ‘Sex Mission’ are harder to penetrate; rhythmic and uncompromising, with slabs of noise and sound crashing through the mix. Whilst they’re not without their merits, they’re not for the faint hearted either. And, as the record is entirely instrumental, it’s sometimes not hard to feel short-changed, with atonal stabs of noise replacing the lush vocals of yore.
All this has the effect of making Behind the Green Door feel like an experiment or sketch, rather than something more permanent. It’s cold, it’s harsh, and it’s hard to love, and it’s hard to shake the feeling that whilst chillwave might have a lot to answer for, some of that beautiful textured warmth wouldn’t have gone amiss here. Steven Rainey
Behind The Green Door is out now on Hyperdub.
Summary: Check out : ‘Throw’, ‘Uhffo’
If you like this you might like: Steve Reich, Oneotrix Point Never