She's got a serious case of computer love, that Laurel Halo, she's gone on the record as saying so. But she's also got an apparent taste for the natural world, if Quarantine, the Brooklyn-based electronic explorer's debut full- length, is any indication. Sounds from the natural world-albeit synth-generated ones-weave in and out of the songs on the record, from the gurgling on "MK Ultra" and "Years" to the submerged, nearly primal "Carcass"to the woodland sounds that open the distant "Thaw".
Sigur Rós may consider themselves to have taken a step "to the left" with their sixth album; there is no question that Halo has done so with her first, at least as compared to her more spacious breakthrough EP King Felix and its perfectly glistening, danceaable "hit", "Supersymmetry", as well as that record's follow-up, last year's Hour Logic, which featured the propulsive "Aquifier".
Quarantine, by contrast, is a more compressed, insular record, seeming to live somewhere between those EP's and Halo's textural/ambient cassette EP Antenna. "I will never see you again" she sings in a meandering vocal on the obsessive "Years". Sonic blips pepper ambient walls on "Joy", and waves of sound roll in and and out on "Wow". Things brighten on "Tumor" as a lyric about forgetting rides the swells, and closer "Light + Space" harks back to Hour Logic's breadth.
With each project, Laurel Halo told Under the Radar last year, she has more confidence in her decisions and a greater belief in herself. On Quarantine she's had the confidence to create a fascinating debut, and one that does anything but hedge her bets, or play it safe.