Heavy, mutilated strains of electronic music are at the core of Laurel Halo’s work, which ranges from live performance and DJing, to composing albums and scores. The Michigan-born and Berlin-based artist has been a mainstay of the London-based label Hyperdub, which released her debut album ‘Quarantine’ in 2012. The record – with its strong juxtaposition of raw vocals and cold electronics – received critical acclaim and was named ‘Album of the Year’ in 2021 by The Wire.
Two instrumental long players followed – 2013’s’ Chance of Rain’ for Hyperdub and 2015’s ‘In Situ’ for Honest Jon’s — in conjunction with extensive touring. Both albums were developed from Laurel Halo’s live sets during those years— geometric, rhythmelodic dancefloor material made with a hardware setup. Throughout 2015, Halo composed the soundtrack for Still Be Here, a collaborative installation piece starring the Japanese virtual popstar, Hatsune Miku. The piece debuted in 2016 at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt, followed by the Barbican in London in 2017. Her album ‘Dust’ was released in 2017 by Hyperdub, again to critical acclaim; it combined the hardware machine funk aesthetics of previous releases with loose, languid songwriting, and featured several collaborators (including Eli Keszler, Julia Holter, Lafawndah, and Klein).
Halo has provided original music for numerous fashion shows such as Eckhaus Latta for their Fall 2019 runway, and has naturally forayed into the scoring world, writing her first film score in 2018 for feature-length experimental documentary Possessed, directed by the Dutch design group Metahave. The score explored string and electronic textures for a beautifully tense soundtrack.
In January of 2021, Halo announced her own record label Awe, which will encompass Halo’s solo and collaborative work, with releases including music, objects, and texts. Awe will also be featured as a monthly radio show on NTS, showcasing the sound and moods currently inspiring the label, as well as premiering unreleased material.
2021 also saw Halo join the Moritz von Oswald Trio alongside Moritz von Oswald and jazz drummer Heinrich Köbberling to release the first album credited to the trio in six years, ‘Dissent’. The album saw the trio shift towards stable foundations in noise and groove, recalling some of techno’s jazzier inclinations while veering untethered into unfamiliar territory.
Halo offers her listeners a wide range of electronic, experimental, and ambient music. Her ever–expanding musical palette continues to influence her production style as well as her score work.