Tag Archives: Laurel Halo

The Best Albums of 2017: #60 – 41

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We’ll be revealing the full list, 20 albums at a time, this whole week.

Last year, the Bandcamp Daily staff put together our first “Best Albums of the Year List,” 100 albums we felt defined 2016 for us. At the time I remember thinking, “This is tough, but it will probably get easier as the years go on.” Now, one year later, I’m realizing that I was wrong. The truth is, the world of Bandcamp is enormous, and it contains artists from all over the world, in every conceivable genre (including a few who exist in genres of their own invention), and at every stage of their career. The fact of the matter is, any list like this is going to fall short because, on Bandcamp, there is always more to discover. Right now, there’s probably someone in their bedroom in Buenos Aires, making a record on their computer that is going to end up on next year’s list. So as comprehensive as we’ve tried to make this list, we realize that, even at 100 albums, we’re only scratching the surface of what’s available. The albums that made this list, though, were the ones that stayed with us long after they were released—the ones we returned to again and again and found their pleasures undimmed, and their songs still rewarding. These are the Best Albums on Bandcamp in 2017.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Metal, Soul, Hip-Hop, Electronic & More

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Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Album of the Day: Laurel Halo, “Dust”

On Dust, her third full-length album for Hyperdub, Berlin-by-way-of-Michigan electronic producer Laurel Halo leads off with a track that adapts the poetry of renowned Brazilian poet Haroldo de Campos to song. Through a fog of phasing organ chords and skittering drum loops, Halo unravels the precarious mechanics of consciousness de Campos explores. The lyrical centerpiece (“Where does this grinding grind? Where does this gear engage?”) becomes something of a mantra, establishing a thematic tone that carries through the entire album.

It wouldn’t be difficult to fill a page in admiration of Halo’s lyrical prowess. On “Jelly,” the album’s first single, her descriptions of detached emotions and reactive judgement within a relationship crisis are harrowing. Throughout Dust, Halo finesses modern conditions into classical poetic forms and sets a lyrical standard seldom seen in the liners of an experimental electronic record.

Though she has vacillated between instrumental and lyrically-driven work over the past six years, on Dust, she delivers the most openly narrative work of her career. In a sense, that makes Dust Halo’s most accessible recording. Though the poetic language of the album is strikingly direct, Halo’s compositions sprawl wildly, corralling stormy free jazz passages (“Arschkriecher”) and airy dubstep ballads (“Like an L” and “Syzygy”) with jungly El Guincho-esque body music (“Moontalk”). The diversity of the work indicates a dizzying breadth of influences, but Halo’s attentions never seem scattered or lacking focus—rather, the opposite. The 12 pieces that make up Dust maintain conceptual clarity; it’s an accomplished account of existential wonder and dread.

—Joseph Darling