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laurel halo - Antenna
Following up one of 2010's most extraordinary debuts, the 'King Felix EP' for HIT, Laurel Halo returns on a blissed-out cassette for the brilliant NNA Tapes. In stark relief to the ebullient song-writing which defined her debut, 'Antenna' opens up the ambient techno side of Laurel's hyperprism, which we'd sensed from her interviews and mixes was just waiting to be revealed in her recordings. From the onset of 'Impulse' we're immersed in an amniotic ocean of swelling synth, swirling field recordings and distant, disembodied voices. The parameters of her sound here are just immeasurably, almost intangibly, vast. Next, 'Dia Sapiens' is more distressing, dystopian even, trapping us in an vivid synth storm, like a sonic fictional Christina Kubisch sound walk through the disorientating electromagnetic fields of New York. That intense passage is beautifully resolved with 'Zoo Hypothesis' and 'Heuristic Gag Factor', gyroscoping us in 3D hyperspace before anchoring to a boiling sea of coruscating techno rhythms. The ending is more positive, as we're extruded through the perfectly off-key chords of 'Factory Reset' and posited on the T++-like aquatech pulses of 'Head'. Essentially, it's one of the most sincere and instinctive updates of the original AI aesthetic that we've heard in years, but applied with the anachronistic obfuscation techniques of this generation to become that bit more transcendental and strangely affective.