Review Summary: Feral static.
While there has never truly been any evidence to determine what brings on my epileptic seizures, I can’t help but think descending into one during the second track of Chance of Rain
was far from chance. It was simply too fitting. That my consciousness would pulsate and crackle like static as my brain ignited in an electrical storm of blurry, half-forgotten memories, all while Laurel Halo conjured up the exact same atmosphere on Chance of Rain
’s nine tracks, legitimately terrifies me. Was the submerged bass and mechanical percussion on “Oneiroi” an actual, discernable trigger for my seizure? Or the crunching, industrial drums of “Serendip” pounding in synch with the flashing images in my head? The uncanny parallel of both tracks sure as hell would convince me of it, but that’s all subjective, right? The odds of Laurel Halo having consciously crafted an album that sonically represents the feeling of a simple-partial seizure (i.e. one that does not render the individual unconscious) is probably too much of a long shot, and I’m simply looking for a correlation. I have to.
While the parallel to my epilepsy is almost certainly unintentional on her part, the deconstruction of her music over the course of her discography does draw remarkable similarities to my seizures. On Quarantine
, for example, the devolution of her voice into the harrowing, imperfect entity that we as listeners have come to either love or hate, is much like the temporary devolution of my consciousness, which can sometimes be as significant a change as forgetting what I look like or where I am. Now on Chance of Rain
, Halo has entirely excluded her voice, opting instead for churning, rhythmic scaffolding that holds together diluted tones and textures. The tracks almost embody a feral sort of static that while certainly forward-moving over the album’s 45-minute length, can sometimes be difficult to differentiate in retrospect.
Still, for what feels overly repetitive to this listener in tracks like “Serendip” and “Thrax,” is more likely due to my own inexperience in the genre, something that would be cured with a more seasoned palate. Thankfully, however, the majority of the tracks offer a tasteful variety of expanding and shifting sounds throughout their length. “Ainnome” pulsates with droplets of bass and escalating futuristic synth textures, and “Chance of Rain” drives along with ricocheting and club-style bass kicks. Though retaining some level of minimalism, in comparison to her past efforts at least, the tracks offer plenty to focus on and pick apart. “Melt,” rather fittingly to its name, blends together a delightful mess of sounds that build layer after layer upon each other until the track dissolves into a clarinet solo. Other than the intro and outro’s jazz piano scores, “Melt” feels the most melodic, which for some listeners may invoke a longing for more moments like it on the album.
It’s difficult to insist that any subjective experience correlates with the intentions of the artist, but when an experience has such remarkable similarities to the music, maybe doing so is perfectly okay. We all want to find something personal to associate with a piece of music and when we do so it only makes our connection to it that much stronger. The albums we consider classic are often in need of personal significance, but as critics of course the quality can’t be overlooked. And while I don’t feel Chance of Rain
is a significant enough piece of music by itself to garner it a classic rating, Halo's evolution as an artist, mixed with the emotional connection I will permanently attach to her music, leads me to believe she has one in her.