A few years ago, when Laurel Halo started catching the attention of websites like this one, she brought an instantly recognizable voice and look to the notoriously insular and often nebbishy world of synth obsessives and outre electro experimentalism. The King Felix was imperfect but very promising — rippling through its repetitive and ambient currents were hints at pop formalism, which, combined with her willingness to sing and have her photograph taken promised a bridge for more casual fans to engage with a fringe music culture. Then came a string of releases (like Hour Logic, or the time she became King Felix) that she went in an even more exploratory direction, setting aside vocals and eschewing concise structures in order to indulge an obvious love for Detroit techno. It felt like a left turn, though a worthwhile one.
Now, finally, it is time for her full-length, on Kode9’s celebrated Hyperdub label, and from the sound of “Light And Space,” it seems like Laurel is ready for a closeup. “Words are just words,” she sings, and that’s true, but they also help connect her music’s obviously studied sonic power to ears that need things like, well, words. I haven’t heard Quarantine, which is what this new LP is called, but “Light And Space” makes me want to. Good job, “Light And Space.” It’s streaming here for you to see if it makes you feel the same:
Quarantine is out 6/5 via Hyperdub.