- A deep and highly textured mini-album from a gifted experimentalist.
- Laurel Halo's music has depth. Sounds flow into each other, have their moment in the center, then fade into the periphery. Her 2017 album, Dust, with its bright textures and singsong (but sometimes ominous) lyrics, suggested a compelling forward trajectory, zeroing in on sounds and methods that Halo had only touched upon previously. Raw Silk Uncut Wood, her new mini-album on the French label Latency, is a departure from those experimental pop leanings and a call back to abstract compositions for labels like NNA Tapes and RVNG Intl.
Working with collaborators Eli Keszler and Oliver Coates, Halo crafts an expansive environment that, at its most crucial moments, feels devoid of individual textures, as tones blend together until they envelop the listener. The title track unfolds over ten minutes, a concentrated wash of synths and spaced-out organs that, paired with Coates's evocative cello, builds to a weighty head. "Quietude" and "The Sick Mind" are more stripped-back yet grow increasingly hectic, as anxious keyboard lines skitter.
"What works reliably is to know the raw silk, hold the uncut wood," says Ursula Le Guin in her translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. Inspired by this sentiment, as well as Halo's time scoring a film for the Dutch art collective Metahaven, the more abstract aspects of Raw Silk Uncut Wood allow her to establish moods that are at once non-prescriptive and immediately visceral.
A1 Raw Silk Uncut Wood
B1 The Sick Mind