Posts Tagged ‘Laurel Halo’

Sightings: Sebastian Tellier, “Look” (Laurel Halo Remix)

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Let’s face it. Sebastien Tellier‘s “Look” — along with the video that popularized it — is one of the sexiest things to come out of pop music in ages. And it’s not just for the most obvious reasons, which are really very obvious: the breathy, almost robotic restraint of Sebastien‘s vocal delivery; the animated image of a woman’s naked ass in perpetual motion, abstracted and degraded into a kaleidoscope of rounded geometries. (Many Americans would call this an “objectification” of the female form; Tellier’s fellow countrymen might describe it more as a “celebration”.) It’s the less-is-more principle that ties the whole package together; the only real ear-candy in “Look” is a single, cycling synth arpeggio, just as the only real eye-candy the video has going for it is a collection of lines and black shapes on a screen. It’s all just a lot of mind-numbing repetition; but it becomes exciting, voluptuous even, when our minds jump to fill in the gaps.

Enter synth babe Laurel Halo, and “Look” evolves from a song that leaves everything to the imagination (and has nothing to hide) into an elaborate striptease. Laurel passes the song through the aural equivalent of a fish-eye lens, amplifying and obscuring its signature riff, dressing it up in synthetic flourishes that derail its forward march, peeling back its skin to reveal structural elements we may not have noticed (the drumbeat). Video artist Josef Kraska, her roommate, takes what is perhaps most disturbing about the video and forces us to confront it head-on, substituting the abstract animation of a female with one in flesh and blood — and asking us to admire her while her back is not turned. Cloaked in the creations of designer Heidi Lee, the protagonist passes through a series of hyper-feminine pantomimes as she is alternately masked and revealed by a fantasia of virtual color. Again, the construction of feminine beauty reveals its own seams: just because we can see her now, doesn’t mean she is there.

Sightings: Laurel Halo, “Something I Never Had” (Lindsay Lohan Cover)

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

A compilation of independent psych and electronic artists doing covers of Lindsay Lohan sounds terrible on paper, doesn’t it? I could be wrong. Maybe it sounds amazing on paper. Either way, Tri Angle Records‘ new Let Me Shine For You mixtape certainly sounds great. Laurel Halo’s take on “Something I Never Had” resembles how Lohan herself might hear her own music during a well-fueled binge. The teen-pop hooks and lovelorn lyrics are absolutely smothered by Halo’s faraway vocals, drowning with a smile into the ambient pastel haze. Re-imagined in this way, “Something I Never Had” might actually manage to touch you.

Let Me Shine For You‘s five other tracks leave you with a similar impression. If you weren’t already aware that these songs were Lohan’s, you would never be able to tell. Many say that the mark of a good cover is when an artist is able to “make the song their own.” If we judge it according to that benchmark, Let Me Shine For You succeeds from start to finish.

Laurel Halo, “Something I Never Had (Lindsay Lohan cover)” (Tri Angle Records Presents: Let Me Shine For You, Tri Angle Records)

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Sightings: Laurel Halo, “Embassy” Video

Monday, July 12th, 2010

There is something about the song “Embassy” by Laurel Halo that makes me feel like I am listening to a soundtrack — not necessarily the soundtrack to a film, but the soundtrack to an idealized way of life. The airy synth tones and Halo’s angelic vocals reminds me of getting a back rub after a day of swimming and spa-ing. It almost feels like a play on the zen notion of Utopia, as marketed to Western consumers.

In Josef Kraska‘s video for the song, he takes this mood to the next level. We are shown a montage of close-ups of women’s faces. Most of the images look as though they’ve been taken from 1980s television commercials, and the women are prime specimens of the red-lipped, smiling, squeaky clean standard of beauty that was prevalent at that time. These images are quite ephemeral, and it seems we aren’t meant to relate to them. The glowing starbursts, kaleidoscopes, and other geometric shapes that loom over the women’s faces are both beautiful and sinister. They seem to suggest an impending erasure, as if our “heroines” are headed for an ending of the Logan’s Run variety.

NY Eye & Ear III, Told from Start to Finish in 43 Tweets

Monday, May 24th, 2010

@MaxBurke just hacked the VR twitter! Greetings from the NY Eye and Ear Fest. View from the record fair/ chill zone.
3:55 PM May 22nd via OpenBeak

Sightings: Return of the Eye & Ear

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Todd Pendu’s massive gathering of underground musicians and artists, the NY Eye & Ear Fest, is preparing for its third installment at the newly christened Knitting Factory space in Williamsburg. Last year’s Eye and Ear Fest was held in July, and before that in December. Perhaps seeing a hole in the city’s calendar due to the dispiriting departure of the No Fun Fest, the event is set for May 22 and 23 and promises over 12 hours of music each day. But that’s only part of the attraction, which also includes a massive record fair with vendors and labels (including VR favorites like Abandon Ship and ESP Disk) selling the usual tapes and LPs alongside art prints, comics, zines and more.

It’s no small feat to keep the public’s interest over three consecutive large-scale events, although this particular festival’s audience tends to be less fickle and hype-oriented than your average Brooklyn indie rock enthusiast. Those with the stamina will be rewarded by what amounts to a nearly comprehensive overview of the current New York underground, including headlining performances from mainstays like Blank Dogs and Xeno & Oaklander along with a slew of up-and-coming acts like Effing and Hunters. One of NY Eye & Ear Fest’s greatest attractions is the sheer diversity of acts on display. No matter your taste for the subterreanean, they’ve got you covered, from dark disco – à la Pendu’s weekly dance parties at Glasslands – to sloppy, snotty rock and everything in-between.

The official NY Eye & Ear Fest site has done a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of getting you acquainted with all the music on display, offering sound samples of every group and a mixtape for each day of the fest for your perusal. Visitation Rites will be on site for the entirety of the event and will have extensive coverage in the days following. This will be the premiere underground music event of the season in New York. Don’t miss it for the world.

NY Eye & Ear Fest takes place May 22 and 23 at the Knitting Factory, Brooklyn. Tickets are on-sale now for $17/day or $30/weekend pass (less than $1.00 a band!) For further information on Todd Pendu and background on the festival please see the interview VR head honcho Emilie Friedlander conducted with Todd Pendu for Arthur Magazine last year.

Sightings: Laurel Halo, “Metal Confection”

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

I kind of wish that I were not sitting alone in my cramped North Brooklyn apartment right now, because it would nice to have somebody here to pat me on the back and tell me that I not crazy. I have been listening to “Metal Confection” by a woman by the name of Laurel Halo pretty much non-stop since I discovered it in my inbox this evening, and each time I listen to it it sounds like an entirely different song. The synesthetic images (or pseudo ones, I guess) remain the same each time, but they occur in a different order. In the most memorable sequence, the one that I am best able to tie into a concrete narrative, we start with the preternaturally sexy splay of Kate Bush’s hair on the cover of Hounds of Love and zoom in through a giant Hubble kaleidoscope, filled with glass emeralds and plastic rubies the size of plums.

Focusing on the small spirals of mane rotating slowly through a pool of pink water, we watch them bloom outward into the baroque water gardens in Kenneth Anger’s Eaux D’Artifice, then outward still more into a satellite photo of smog spiraling around the earth. Finally, at maximum close-up, we behold a cathedral of stars. The well-oiled techno-utopia Halo channels with nothing but her voice and a few programmed arpeggios is that sweeping and macrocosmic, but it is full of small microcosms — sparkles, muted explosions — too. Watch out, Ms. Bush; if I were you, I would smear on an entire tube of lipstick and get ready to contend with my own 21st century avatar.

Laurel Halo, “Metal Confection”

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