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Dust Image
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

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  • Summary: The third full-length release for the Berlin-based American electronic artist features vocals from Klein, Lafawndah and Michael Salu as well as contributions from $hit and $hine’s Craig Clouse, Maximillion Dunbar, Julia Holter, and Eli Keszler.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Jun 23, 2017
    100
    Dust is then a remarkable accumulation of disruptions and attachments, gaseous parts and shifting centres. Coherent in their incoherence, playful in their experimentalism, its tracks unfold smoothly, their trunks buzzing with magnetism, attracting the attention of pealing bells, skronking sax, and dub-techno beats.
  2. Jun 26, 2017
    90
    Laurel Halo’s most ecstatically esoteric effort to date, which, in the case of this artist at least, is another way of saying that is both her best and her most joyously listenable.
  3. Jun 30, 2017
    90
    [An] immersive, frequently moving, absorbing experience.
  4. Jun 26, 2017
    80
    Dust is a record that is powerful, consuming, yet also strangely comforting.
  5. The Wire
    Aug 8, 2017
    80
    Dust floats along meditatively, and is Halo’s warmest and most familial record to date. [Jul 2017, p.52]
  6. Jun 29, 2017
    80
    It’s an album that abounds with details but feels perfectly homogenous, and one can only wonder where Laurel Halo goes from here. It could be very interesting indeed.
  7. Jun 26, 2017
    60
    Laurel Halo’s penchant for abstraction has long served her music well, but Dust veers too far in the direction of academic detachment, suffering from its own inertness.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Oct 17, 2017
    10
    Few current artists can be as challenging and out-there as electronic producer and singer Ina Cube, the woman behind Laurel Halo. She's a trueFew current artists can be as challenging and out-there as electronic producer and singer Ina Cube, the woman behind Laurel Halo. She's a true auteur, undefinable in any particular scene or pattern. Since her debut in 2010 with King Felix EP, she has willfully pushed her own set boundaries, every release a clean slate that erases all notions established for her audience. 2012's first full-length Quarantine was a contemplative and frequently distressing collection of cyberpunk-inspired ambient pop, where pitch-shifted or conversely, uglily untreated vocals, set out to confront what we consider acceptable in terms of the human voice. She took a left turn with the fraught and jagged instrumentals of Chance of Rain (2013), here, busy techno polyrythms clashed against beautiful ambient patches and jazzy detours. And now Dust blurs the line between vocal and instrumental orientation more radically than ever before. ''Joyful'' isn't a term I would have associated with Halo's previous work. Her aesthetic is defined by a sense of dehumanization that is, paradoxically, more human, more vulnerable and certainly more ambiguous than on the work of say, Kraftwerk or fellow Detroit natives Dopplereffekt. ''Dust'' amps up the human factor within, while still remaining inscrutable, elusive and alien. Even as we get close to an untold aspect of her personality, one more playful and less serious than we could imagine, it's at arms length. Gone on ''Dust'' are any traces of Detroit techno ambiance or of the percolating, nagging beats of the UK bass scene, with obscure jazz and soul influences now brought to the surface. The result is a formless and dizzying miasma of fractured time signatures, gaseous synth textures, mind-melting vocal manipulation and a sense of abstract groove redolent of Arthur Russell. Like an L and Who Won sound like Broadcast if they were more inspired by the tech-noir genre and David Fincher thrillers than 60s art films. Highlight Syzygy radiates with ultraviolet sweetness. Singles Jelly and Moontalk build surreal slices of life, the former out of a groove that moves like a five-foot rubberband and serpentine vocals from Halo at her most earnest; the latter a giddy collage of tribal percussion, dial tones, laughter samples and parts sung both in Japanese and English. All in all, ''Dust'' is not easy to digest, but given enough investment can lure the most alienated listener into its strangely inviting universe. Similar to her contemporaries Oneohtrix Point Never and Actress, Laurel Halo has the uncanny ability to layer up sounds that dissolve upon touch and play catch me with the listener. And like those same artists, she creates something more idiosyncratic and affecting than most artists on the electronic or 'IDM' tag. Expand

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