Los Angeles, CA
Prolific electronic music producer Laurel Halo described her newest album Atlas as “the feeling of everywhere becoming nowhere” to NPR. That intangible feeling is conveyed across layers of jazzy instrumentation that weave in and out of songs like the piano-driven “Naked to the Light.”
Atlas’s change in sound is typical of Halo’s genre-agnostic approach, but this sort of rumination is a common thread throughout all of her work. Her debut album Quarantine — named the best release of 2012 by The Wire — built a foundation of luscious synth-pop for sparse yet vulnerable lyrics. Follow-up album Chance of Rain and 2015 double-EP In Situ, meanwhile, harnessed instrumental abstraction to create ominous collages of sound.
Halo’s third album with taste-making electronic label Hyperdub was Dust, and featured collaborators like Sled Island alum Julia Holter. In 2018, Halo further swerved in sound, drawing inspiration from scoring the Dutch documentary Possessed to produce a six-track mini-album of ambient sonic textures called Raw Silk Uncut Wood.
Released in 2023 on her own label Awe, Atlas captures Halo’s multi-faceted approach to audio art. The echoes of techno rhythm on “Late Night Drive” blend seamlessly into the orchestral arrangements of “Sick Eros,” evoking fleeting images and scenery as if viewed from a car window. Also since last year, Halo is now a faculty member of Composition and Experimental Sound Practices at The California Institute of the Arts.
Laurel Halo’s career has spanned across disciplines, genres and continents. The joyful abandon of her sonic exploration emanates from her live instrumentation and production, the poignant sounds enveloping her solitary figure.