Review Summary: Formless coherence
If there is any one thing to signal the divisive nature of Laurel Halo’s music, it may just be the dogged aimlessness that encapsulates so much of her work. We can see it clearly in last year’s Dust
, which unfolded like a vast canvas of spattered vignettes, connected only loosely by vague, stretched throughlines; and even when grounded in a premise unmistakably rhythmic (a la the blistering Chance of Rain
), it seems like she is equally bound to that feeling – to a host of drifting ideas and disconnected thoughts, separating purpose from overarching structure and leaving us suspended in between. Halo’s newest collaboration stands out among the catalogue not because of its stylistic leaps (this game of hopscotch between styles is par for the course for her at this point), no – Raw Silk Uncut Wood
baffles because it affirms and
refutes these defining traits in a way that is subversive and invigorating, but most importantly, wholly befitting of our darling Halo, ever-refusing to be relegated to any one singular brand.
This is all drawn around Raw Silk’s
bookends, a pair of lengthy, emotive ambient compositions locked in a warring state of boundless growth and imperceptible decay. They’re lost in a way which feels only feigned, they wander into and out of straight lines and sway with a knowing grace. They’re truly bemusing pieces, and the interludes which separate them personify this feeling by calling our attention to their hidden edges, to mirror these harmonious wonders at their most unresolved and discordant. It’s quite a fitting duality to the approachability – the word that closing piece “Nahbarkeit” directly translates to in English – of Laurel Halo’s work on the whole. Raw Silk Uncut Wood
approachable, particularly by her standards, and it is just gorgeous in its best moments – but not only in the elusive sense we might have come to expect from her. There is a bit of that creeping in, in the skittered experiments which we find caught in the middle – but what’s more special this time around is what we see so directly, the transient moments when Halo’s purpose and sensibilities seem closer to grasp than ever before; and for an artist constantly toying with expectations and never clearing a direct path, there’s something beautiful in that conceit.