Laurel Halo

Laurel Halo

Golden Retriever, Strategy

Sun Dec 3

8:30 pm


Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

Laurel Halo has developed a unique take on electronic music, combining the machine pulse of hardware and software instruments (synthesizers, samplers, drum machines) with her own voice to address physical process, liminality and virtual violence.

Laurel Halo
Laurel Halo
Laurel Halo is a recording artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Taking influence from the techno of her Midwest roots, Halo has developed a unique take on electronic music, combining the machine pulse of hardware and software instruments (synthesizers, samplers, drum machines) with her own voice to address physical process, liminality and virtual violence. Halo has also released more rhythm-focused music under the alias King Felix, also with clear lineage to the machine soul and dub techno sounds of the Motor City. Halo’s debut album “Quarantine”, was released on Hyperdub to critical acclaim in 2012, receiving such accolades as #10 Album of the Year in The Washington Post, and the #1 Album of the Year in The Wire Magazine.
Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever
As the duo Golden Retriever, Matt Carlson and Jonathan Sielaff have explored an ocean’s worth of sound. Primarily working with the intersection of modular synthesis and amplified/effected bass clarinet, the duo has done eight releases for labels like Thrill Jockey, Root Strata, and NNA Tapes. Their music combines an intense emotional immediacy and meditative focus with strong melodicism and an organic, naturalistic approach to experimental electronic sound. Rotations features the duo expanding their sonic palette to incorporate a full chamber ensemble. The results of this stunning collaboration are meditative, lush, and emotionally arresting.

Rotations began when Golden Retriever received a grant from Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council to organize and perform new works. The public performances took place in October of 2015 at Portland’s historic The Old Church. For the performances, Golden Retriever created a series of pieces for an expanded ensemble that included piano, strings, wind instruments, percussion, synthesizer, and pipe organ, which became the foundation on which Rotations was built. While their duo recordings and performances are typically developed from studio improvisations that evolve into specific musical structures, in this case Golden Retriever began with simple acoustic compositions, improvisations and fragmented ideas between bass clarinet and piano and used them to develop melodic and harmonic themes. After transcribing the various parts into notation and adding layers of additional instruments, the result of their collage process creates the effect that Golden Retriever are playing the ensemble as their instrument, and through careful arrangements, have integrated improvisation and composition.

Through the course of the creative process of choosing, editing and arranging the pieces, the duo saw a clear theme: a meditation on the cyclical nature of life and on going through something difficult but emerging on the other side of it with hope. Pieces such as “Pelagic Tremor” tell the story of a tumultuous seascape, stormy and churning. “Tessellation” weaves a tapestry of overlapping patterns that are impenetrable and sifting. In contrast, the sounds of “A Kind of Leaving” (whose title is a reference to a Bei Dao poem) evokes quiet and contemplative imagery, and “Thread of Light” is perhaps Golden Retriever’s most minimal piece to date, finding beauty in simplicity. Within each piece, the instruments cycle together rhythmically, harmonically, and texturally. And the album itself forms a cycle made up by the ebb and flow of each piece that is both dynamic and engaging.

Rotations was recorded throughout September and October 2015 by Matt Carlson with help from Branic Howard of Open Field Recording. The album was recorded at Golden Retriever’s studio at Yale Union in Portland, with the exception of the pipe organ, which was recorded at The Old Church. Musicians who contributed to the album include Mousai Remix String Quartet: Erin Cole (violin), Shin-Young Kwon (violin), Jennifer Arnold (viola), Marilyn De Oliveira (cello); Jen Harrison (french horn), Colin Frey (pipe organ), Catherine Lee (oboe), Matt Hannafin (percussion), David Coniglio (vibraphone), and John Savage (alto flute).
Multi-instrumentalist and programmer Paul Dickow has been making music as Strategy since 1999. From a musical family, as a youth he was exposed to everything from academic computer music to the synth pop and rap filling the airwaves at the time. A longtime participant in Portland's strange underground music community, (where it's not atypical for people to be participating in 3 or more projects which bear little resemblance to one another) he went on to play in a number of groups, most notably as drummer for agit-art-punk outfit Emergency and as keyboardist in Fontanelle. Currently, he is a member of Nudge and several other collaborative projects.

Strategy wires together Dickow's programming and performing experience via a hodgepodge of table top electronics, computers and realtime musicianship. Combining a granular ambient aesthetic with an abstract, percolating rhythmic sensibility, Strategy music does not find a singular sylistic expression, but rather exists along a genre-confounding continuum where all genres are created equal and primed for deconstruction. Strategy releases all his music under the same name: outcomes have taken the form of digital dub singles and remixes (for Shockout label), dancefloor singles (for ORAC and his own Community Library label), ambient and experimental music for kranky and others, and uncategorisable territories. Reflecting this, his working process includes everything from collage-based composition, to live improvisation, careful sound design and spontaneous noisemaking.

Since the release of Drumsolo's Delight in 2004, Strategy has shifted gears away from live performance, to DJing and studio production, becoming an in-demand remixer for the likes of DFA, The Blow, Gregory Isaacs, and others, while continuing his path in Portland as a respected local music standard-bearer, label curator, and insatiable record collector. Strategy is director of the Community Library label (along with cohort Solenoid) and co- founder of the DIY imprint Archigramophone.
Venue Information:
1001 SE Morrison St.
Portland, OR, 97214