Laurel Halo Live, Wired

Laurel Halo Live, Wired
Photo: Ismini Adami
"Hopefully next year I'll find a place to live." After a whirlwind year and a half that saw the release of her critically-lauded debut, Quarantine, alongside a slew of EPs and two world tours, Laurel Halo is hoping to slow down enough in 2014 to lay down some roots.

After moving from her hometown of Ann Arbor, MI to the hipster borough of Brooklyn in 2009, Halo has been contemplating joining the throngs of North American musicians who have relocated to the electronic music mecca of Berlin.

It's understandable, since her sophomore release, Chance of Rain, sounds like the type of album that could only come out of Germany's engrossing and inspired club scene. "The tracks were originally made to be improvised live, basically sample sequences and drum patterns that I would build and shape on the fly," Halo says about this distinctive recording technique, "but after recording the stems, there was quite a bit of post-processing in the studio."

Described as "somewhere in-between both studio and live process," the album's novel approach is not the only element that makes it such a stark musical departure. Returning to her instrumental electronic roots, Halo abandoned the signature vocal style (described by some reviewers as "divisive" and "digitally mangled") that helped define Quarantine. Flirting with the metallic dissonance of London IDM while exploring the rubbery avenues of Detroit techno, Chance of Rain is, as Halo says, "Weirder and less accessible, because it's not as instantly gratifying in terms of having vocal hooks to latch onto."

Adapting one of her father's art pieces from the 1970s (a dark depiction of solemn-looking men sitting in and around open graves) for its cover art, Chance of Rain retains its weirdness quota, an aesthetic Halo embraces but has never taken too seriously, "If you're not going to back up a sense of darkness with a sense of humour, then it just falls flat. You have to be able to laugh at the futility of things!"