One of the cruelest (and brilliant) loose ends left untied, in literature, occurs in Orwells dystopian masterpiece 1984. When the novels hero Winston becomes incarcerated by the Thought Police — just after discovering a life worth living without Big Brother — he becomes imprisoned by the government at the Ministry of Love. He sees other prisoners go before him, all begging to not be thrown into the mysterious Room 101. We never find out specifically whats behind the door of Room 101. All we know its that its the worst thing in the world, where prisoners are forced to confront their greatest fears.
Similarly, minimalist electronic composer Laurel Halo conjures beats from a place of phobia, resulting in cathartic listens like last years quivering Quarantine. Shes returned with a pulsating EP, Behind the Green Door. It sheds Halos wrenching vocals viscerally present on the previous full-length, and amplified with the downtempo experimentation of the Berlin electronic scene.
So whats behind Halos green door? Like the contents behind Room 101, we can only speculate — but its likely not pleasant. From the very beginning, the baritone thuds of Throw plunge into the listener with a razorsharp blade, made spookier by an out-of-tune piano carrying the melody.
Much like her peer Holly Herndon, Halos compositions are studious pieces meticulously constructed to extract an element of humanity within the machine. The wonder is how they manage to render you conscious of your own movement in the world. UHFFO whirrs with a tittling hi-hat, a mind and heart racing underneath. You dont hear your heart pounding with the thumps of NOYFB, you hear the gulps of blood as they pass through veins.
Once the glimpse behind the green door shuts with the seven-minute Sex Mission, youre left with an even bigger set of questions. How can Halo can make a simple piano chord to resound as profoundly evil? When do beats transcend machine into the sound of synapses firing? Like Halos previous work, Behind The Green Door coos the listener to listen often and closely, while instilling that sense of intrigue that unexplained mysteries leave you with.
Essential Tracks: “Throw”, “Sex Mission”