Laurel Halo at EMPAC: Recap

This past Friday, upstate New York was gifted with another performance from an artist proudly of the Hyperdub roster. Laurel Halo is a brilliant producer and live electronic musician whose music gets you thinking as much you get lost in it.

I first saw Laurel Halo at TURRBOTAX®, a monthly club night in New York City that had first exposed me to some of my now-favorite producers over the past several years. In the city, it was a fully loaded dance set packed with the purest techno (read: actual techno) imaginable. Her performance at EMPAC on Friday was the complete opposite. Halo’s set was full of heavy, mysterious synths and samples that built towards one direction, and then shifted into a completely different, but not so distant direction. It was difficult to catch the rhythm or nod along but that seemed to be the clear intention of the artist.

Her set was a curious presentation of sound, as opposed to being engineered for a dance club setting like I had experienced in the past, and was somewhat expecting. I’d almost consider this set to be a total tease, knowing the type of music I’ve heard her capable of creating in the past. I enjoyed her performance with my eyes closed and my thoughts drifting, while seated in the venue’s main concert hall. There’s something to be said of being able to sit down to watch an artist with Halo’s talent and unique approach to sound. It was truly something different.

Halo’s music is meditative and pensive, while also aggressive, sharp, complicated and simple, all at once. It was all about the build with Halo controlling chaos and creating intricate patterns that seemed both illogical and perfectly on point. Whatever Halo is doing seriously works for her, as Friday’s performance had us all completely captivated.

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