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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing cover art, had to listen, 16 Jun 2012
Kenneth (nottingham, england) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Quarantine (Audio CD)
Perhaps it's a little frivolous of me to listen to an album based on it's Harakiri sleeve art, but there was just something about the juxtaposition of rainbows and violence that really got me. Anyways, sometimes it's fun to short circuit rationalism and be spontaneous and occasionally it actually pays off. With Quarantine i'm happy to say i got lucky! The music on here didn't overwhelm me with brilliance from start to finish, however it's one of the most distinctive albums to be released this year and in this era of revivalism thats a welcome relief and precisely what i was looking for when i decided to arbitrarily check this out.

I was quite suprised to find out Quarantine came out on Hyperdub, a record label i'd often associated with overwhelming bass lines or reverberant drum patterns (Dubstep and bass music basically). Instead the music on here is full of open spaces, meditative drones and ruminative lyricism perhaps something like boards of canada meet Laurie Anderson might help conjure up a useful impression. "Airsick" opens the album with Laurel self harmonising over a druggy, disorientating synth melody that feels cold, yet quite beautiful. I'ts followd by the highly idiosyncratic, quasi spoken word of "Years" where the lyrics are distinctive enough to stick to memory but too obtuse to truely decipher.

Two songs that certainly stood out for me though, were "Thaw" and "Carcass" as they reminded me of the more pensive ambient excursions from early Aphex Twin albeit with Nico like singing circa Marble Index over the top. The major highlight comes in the closer "Light + Space" with the music and the lyrics coalescing perfectly, the melodies are bright and sombre and Laurel sings "Words are just Words, that you soon forget" an evocative metaphor perhaps for the pointlessness of searching for meaning in communication and our fleeting memories of art in the highly saturated music world of the modern era. For those who appreciated Julia Holter's impressive full length "Ektasis" or Oneohtrix Point Nevers more ambient work this is a must listen and if you haven't heard of those artists, you might want to take a speculative punt anyway (it worked for me).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be a Dean Blunt - buy it!, 11 Jun 2012
Colin Mccartney (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Quarantine (Audio CD)
Laurel Halo's "Quarantine", released on Hyperdub Records, follows hot on the heels of Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland's Black Is Beautiful recorded for the same label and is not unlike that album in that it too is uncategorisable and will probably appeal to a similar audience.

To compare Laurel Halo to Bjork would be doing both artists a disservice although that is as good a starting point as any. There are similarities both in the singing style and in the heavy use of electronic instrumentation. "Quarantine" has a down-tempo, folky, hazy feel with, at times, an almost Boards of Canada ambience. The multi-tracked vocals even sound a bit Liz Fraser in places and give the LP an other-worldly melancholy feel.

And the harakiri schoolgirl artwork is brilliant - looks good on the CD (digipak) format (you need to look closely) and I expect would look even better in 12" vinyl format.

Don't be put off by the fact that this is another arty release from a trendy New Yorker - believe me, this is almost certainly one of the reasons why James Murphy is losing his edge.

This CD just gets better with every play - the kids ARE coming up from behind!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Experimental electronica with a pop edge, 25 May 2012
This review is from: Quarantine (Audio CD)
One of the most adventurous and thrilling releases so far for 2012. Halo's debut album comes up with a whole new set of abstract broadcasts. Tracks such as Airborne, Holoday, Carcass and Light + Space capitivate as they swing and purr with aplomb.
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Quarantine by Laurel Halo
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