Laurel Halo, Chance of Rain

Ian Gittins

By Ian Gittins

on 12.04.13 in Reviews

Chance of Rain

Laurel Halo
Insatiable, iridescent headphones music

Ina Cube, the New York-based electro-auteur and producer who records as Laurel Halo, walks a fine line between the cerebral and the visceral. The first quality has always come naturally to her. As befits a classically trained disciple of Steve Reich’s systems music, her ambient debut album, Quarantine, was a twitchy, beats-free anxiety attack of a record that was named album of 2012 by esoteric UK music mag The Wire. For this follow-up, Cube eschews the meticulous micro-editing and obsessive tweaking behind Quarantine in favor of sweat and spontaneity. The majority of the tracks on Chance of Rain take their cue from her live show, where Cube has always been far more improvisational, and it shows: the title track revisits old-school Detroit techno, “Thrax” is an joyous wallowing in juicy bass wobbles, and the halting sprung-rhythms of “Serendip” will appeal to unreconstructed drum ‘n’ bass heads everywhere. Cube’s conversion to the dance floor is not absolute, however: The poignant, abstract “-Out” is a piano-led meditation, pregnant with yearning and need. It’s a pity she has retired her Nico-like, vulnerable vocal that was such an engaging element of Quarantine, but no matter: Here is insatiable, iridescent headphones music to dance to.