Dust is Laurel Halo’s third album for the pioneering label Hyperdub, following 2013’s sprawling techno LP, Chance of Rain. But the new album’s closest counterpart is Laurel’s critically acclaimed 2012 debut, a vocal-led ambient pop record that trod the uncomfortable territory of trauma, memory, and sickness. On Dust, Laurel once again places her vocals in the foreground, and eases her production into the shape of off-kilter songs. But the effect is more dynamic: grooves shuffle in and out of focus, acoustic percussion and piano chords meet woozy synth lines, and multiple voices appear to converse with one another. (The album also features vocals from New York-based electronic pop artist Lafawndah, London-based experimentalist Klein, and Berlin-based writer and artist Michael Salu.)
“I wanted to have a positive-sounding record, for it to sound more relaxed and less anxious,” Laurel explains. “Every time I write a record, it’s partially a process of healing. It’s important to have fun through the process of healing, rather than tying those knots even tighter.” It’s a feeling that permeates not only the sound, but the language of the record.
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