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Laurel Halo, 'Belleville'

Laurel Halo's most memorable tracks tend to be desolate and unnerving. Across propulsive club bangers, uneasy experimental compositions and apocalyptic dirges, the Los Angeles-based musician, DJ and academic has used sound to convey a sense of barrenness.

But Halo seems to have perked up in the five years since she put out her last album, Raw Silk Uncut Wood. "Belleville," from Halo's upcoming record Atlas, finds her pushing into uncharacteristically serene terrain. Recorded in one take, the instrumental is carried by sparse, balmy piano noodling. Midway through, digitally manipulated vocals from British musician Coby Sey briefly emerge from the ether, breaking the spell but heightening the beauty. If Halo's work before this seemed cast in the fluorescent glow of an underground bunker, "Belleville" lounges in a sun-drenched meadow.

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Ted Davis
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