Laurel Halo-DJ Kicks: Album Review

Laurel Halo’s DJ Kicks set twists and winds to its conclusions. Though at first glance feeling like one stroke of a giant paint brush, the work has certain fulcrums that keep the energy feeling fresh. Between the driving leads of Red Axe’s “5 Min,” and the raw textures of “Ana,” for instance, Halo pulls us through the pristine sheen of “Puro Rosaceaes,” the subtle cascade of “Cricoid Pressure,” and the oddball vocals of “Just Made Some Jazz Music.” Tunes like “Penny Rut” and “Canto” again calm things down before the pointed rhythms of “The Light Within You” creep through the hazy cloud of “Poliwhirl.” These type of back and forth twists make the set expertly cohesive and engaging without ever really breaking Halo’s minimalist leanings.

The middle of the work maybe begins to break into more extremeties to an extent—there’s not really a dip in energy between say “Lachowa” and “Violent Light”—but Halo’s liquid smolder somehow encompasses every bit of the thing, always feeling touched by her ears.

The set’s sound strikes much of the same modernism as much of Halo’s music. It’s the minimal sound of Berlin, but it also recalls jungle in it’s dark tones and unpredictable rhythms—not to mention Halo’s nods to Jazz and Contemporary Classical music, which are less obvious here, but still sitting in the background as heard on the string flourish of “Brian’s Having a Party.”. Overall the work is another welcome reflection of the world that Halo’s built, it’s perhaps not the crown jewel, but DJ sets are another key component to her vision—definitely worth listening in.

-Donovan Burtan

7.5/10

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