Friday, July 21st, ISSUE presents Michigan-born and Berlin-based artist Laurel Halo, German producer of experimental minimal techno Thomas Brinkmann, and Poland-born producer and composer Derek Piotr in performance across experimental electronic genres.
Following 2015’s double EP In Situ, the modern classic Quarantine (2012) and the “post-ambient” Chance Of Rain (2013), Laurel Halo evolves her distinct style into the hi-tech jazz-fusion of Dust, her stellar third album with Kode9’s London-based label Hyperdub. Deeply mediated by technology, media, and memory, Halo’s new work follows a collection of “breezy, broken songs, based on woody instrumentation, sub-bass and restless, intricate electronics,” where “earnest songwriting meets with modal cut-up strategies, improvisational playing with hi-grade digital dust.”
Dust features a daring roster of collaborators such as Eli Keszler, Julia Holter, Klein, Diamond Terrifier (ZS’s Sam Hillmer), Craig Clouse ($hit and $hine), Max D, Michael Beharie, Lafawndah, and Michael Salu. Within these collaborations, Laurel’s myriad ideas tie together her roots in Detroit techno’s makeup, as Boomkat notes, as well as “sci-fi, jazz, electro, japanese electronics, dub and musique concrète -- while seamlessly incorporating up-to-the-minute gestures from pop and R&B.” The result is an singularly elusive, mystifying style defined by her omnivorous refusal to be reducible to any single approach or genre.
The evening also features Thomas Brinkmann presenting the premiere U.S. live staging of his renowned 2000 album Klick, a work that succeeded his late-’90s variation albums to incorporate the conceptual project of the Mille Plateaux-helmed "clicks and cuts" movement of the early 2000s. Using samples and noises emanating from damaged, knife-cut vinyl records as the building blocks for his tracks, Brinkmann used the resulting clicks and pops in place of kicks and hi-hats to produce a wholly unique form for dub techno.
Critic Philip Sherburne states that, “among producers working with sampled wax, no one has gotten more mileage out of less surface area than Brinkmann -- he's explored every nook and cranny of the vinyl record's grooved surface...His process shares as much in common with the conceptualist and fluxus interventions of Milan Knizak or Christian Marclay's pranks as it did contemporary DJ culture or remixology.”
The album’s leaflet cryptically described the project as “10 tracks made with two decks, an isolator, a mixer and some with a tc multi-effect..about 15 endless grooves, cut with a knife in the last groove of vinyl records, some voices from records as well, and feedbacks are the sound sources.”
The evening opens with producer and composer Derek Piotr staging a live version of his 2016 record Drono, which was released on Richard Chartier’s LINE Imprint. This staged iteration of the piece involves a full-frequency representation, live vocals, and an inclusion of rhythm not found on the record. Brinkmann and Piotr collaborated on Drono, and will incorporate elements of their collaborative piece Absolute Grey in their joint set.
Laurel Halo's music is a shape-shifting, moody and ecstatic blend of heavy, mutilated strains of electronic music with influence from the sounds of Detroit, UK and Germany. The Michigan-born and Berlin-based artist has been a mainstay of the London-based label Hyperdub, who released her breakout, divisive debut album Quarantine in 2012. The record received critical acclaim, and was named Wire Magazine's Album of the Year. Since then she's released two more albums—2013's Chance of Rain for Hyperdub, 2015's In Situ for Honest Jon's—and toured extensively with a live hardware PA. In addition, Laurel hosts a regular show on Berlin Community Radio, having originally cut her teeth as a freeform DJ on the legendary WCBN-FM station in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has collaborated with John Cale, Julia Holter, David Borden, Daniel Wohl, and Metahaven among others. Halo has also composed the soundtrack for Still Be Here, a Transmediale/CTM film commission starring the Japanese virtual popstar, Hatsune Miku, which debuted at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and was most recently shown at the Barbican Hall in London. Her latest album, Dust, is released on Hyperdub in late June.
Thomas Brinkmann is a highly regarded German producer of experimental minimal techno music. Although experimenting with records since the early eighties, he gained wide reputation with his re-workings of material by fellow artists Mike Ink and Richie Hawtin released in the second half of the 90s. These productions were made by playing physically modified vinyl records on highly customized turntables with an additional tone arm. Brinkmann later founded the Ernst r ecord label and introduced his own productions on a series of 12” records taking their titles from female names. He has since expanded his extensive production catalog on his own Max Ernst label, as well as other highly respected outfits such as Traum Schallplatten, Raster-Noton and Mute Records (under the Soul Center alias).
Derek Piotr (b. 1991, Lublin) is a Poland-born producer and composer based in New England, whose work focuses primarily on the voice. His music approaches the human voice with a curiosity that abstracts its literal connotations in the context of composition, often featuring heavily manipulated vocals and elements of glitch and musique concrète. He has composed both radio plays and pop songs, and collaborated with musicians such as Scanner, Blevin Blectum, and AGF. In 2010 he served as intern to Meredith Monk. His second record, Airing, was nominated by the jury of Prix Ars Electronica in 2012. His compositions and radio plays have featured on Resonance FM and BBC, and his solo records have been released under labels such as Monotype, Bit-Phalanx and LINE. He has lectured at universities such as NYU and UNC.