Laurel Halo – Quarantine (CD Hyperdub)
Development almost per definition correlates positively with being exposed to experiences. In my opinion it also implies losing some capabilities that were seen as less relevant or just not worth exploring, with the ultimate consequence that what could have been probably does not come to blossom. Luckily enough for us that on Quarantine it feels as if the right decisions were made and in many ways this record is better than its predecessors King Felix & Hour Logic. Whereas on those records the dancefloor was within reach, here there are only hints to the afterparties Coil were aiming at with their LSD record.
The music on Quarantine, Laurel Halo’s latest, has the ability to create illusions in a similar way as the artwork on the front. When seeing this for the first time the overall impression is colorful and gay. When taking a somewhat closer look, one starts to realize something is wrong. It is only then that the artwork reveals its horrors, although the mind still is almost paralyzed by its first impression. In a similar way, the tracks on Quarantine play the same trick. At first, the feel is that of an ambiguous record with lots of catchy tunes and feel good tracks inspired by 90’s electronic music. However, also here with each new listening experience more layers are revealed, and they get darker every time. The atmosphere starts to get more and more threatening, almost as it is trying hard to hide a secret that pulsates within. Expect something that sounds like a perfect symbiosis of Laurie Anderson on acid with Cocteau Twins Liz Frazer in one of her romantic ecstasies perfectly mixed with Warp’s more mellow moments, nothing less. Certainly the reward gets greater each time you play this record.
With over 6 months to go this year this record will probably end high up in my years "best of" list. PvdG