Boomkat Product Review:
Strong, highly absorbing first soundtrack release by Laurel Halo, supplying original music for a documentary by Dutch design studio Metahaven and Rob Schröder, featuring strings by Oliver Coates (cello) and LCO’s Galya Bisengalieva (violin). ‘Possessed’ is a rich and sprawling soundtrack, nodding here and there to classic score work but doing so with almost shocking fluency - this is first grade material from an artist that ’s always keeping us on our toes.
To our ears there are references here to everything from Michael Nyman’s distinctive music for Peter Greenaway, to Vangelis’ iconic Blade Runner, and some of Alberto Iglesias’ finest and most evocative work for Julio Medem - but always with a hypermodern and distinctive slant. It follows the smokier themes of Laurel’s previous LP, ‘Raw Silk Uncut Wood’ with a beautifully lucid expansion of that side’s organic tone that crosses much deeper into contemporary and avant classical composition. String arrangements vacillate with more wanton experimental expressions, mixing virulent electronics with the application of virtuosic extended instrumental techniques to conjure a wide variety of tonal colour and moods that match the film’s existentialist themes.
In terms of atmospheric scope and effect, the music of ‘Possessed’ almost loops back to Laurel’s earliest works circa ‘Antenna’, ten years ago, effectively foregoing her signature techno and ambient-pop sound of the intervening decade to evoke a sense of futuristic sci-fi tension - albeit with hugely expanded scope and depth. But the addition of organic instrumentation tempers this aesthetic to bring the future within physical grasp of an impending present, locating a filigree mix of human presence and lurking artificiality in the process. Add a confident resistance to any overly emotive motifs, and you’ve basically got a stunning first crack at film composition thats puts a lot of the more recent signed-in-a-panic additions to the Deutsche Grammophon roster to shame.