Records of the Week

AGF „poemproducer” / Laurel Halo „Atlas“

AGF Producktion (Morr Distriibution)

After years in which AGF mainly worked collectively, the producer, who currently lives in Hailuoto, Finland, is once again placing singular authorship at the forefront of her sound designs with “poemproducer”.

AGF takes the 20th anniversary of her classic album ‘westernization completed’ as the occasion for her first solo record since 2017, designed with the ambition to “calibrate reality and the past time”. The resulting sound collages/tracks are both sensually poetic overloads and tender invitations to let yourself fall into the sound – which of course sounds like an absolute contradiction at first, but it wouldn’t be the first of its kind that you should dare to live.

In this respect, it is only fitting that the author herself coquettishly asks “Can you handle it” in the third track of the album, both the “groove” and the “anti-groove”; but the big challenge on “poemproducer” is not the beat, but what takes place “against the grain” in the sound-textual interstices, because that is where “text, body, hands as technology, bass, ice” unite, “non-synchronized”, as she puts it, in order to “find words” and do “fieldwork”, guided by an author-subject who constantly explores the boundaries of artistic freedom energetically and yet humorously.

“What is free”, AGF asks in the piece “sideNESS” – and gives answers, answers that should be heard for themselves, because ultimately they are less to be understood as instructions for action, but merely invitations to dialog from AGF, who in “basspoetess” positions herself appropriately self-confidently as a “powerful poemproducer”. Yes, she truly is. With “poemproducer”, AGF reconciles avant-garde and pop with an irresistibly free gesture.
Thomas Venker

Laurel Halo

The first thought: Laurel Halo has returned to jazz. Because “Atlas”, the seventh album by American producer Laurel Anne Chartow , as her real name is, begins like one of those intimate 80s bar jazz albums with a hushed melody played on the piano, enveloped in atmospheric noise.

This shouldn’t really surprise anyone, because Laurel Halo is always known for a surprising twist, although a twist doesn’t really describe it. Since her beginnings with Detroit techno-inspired electronic contributions to the endless hyperdub continuum, she has been adding new facets to her sound spectrum with every new release, artfully adding new layers to her always very personal and always curiously exploratory narrative – sometimes in the manic style of building Watts Towers, sometimes challenging herself and others like the Tower of Babel.

You can hear in “Atlas” that Laurel Halo’s most recent band experience was alongside Moritz von Oswald (and Heinrich Köbberling) (and that she thus drew on her earlier free jazz ensemble experience), and also that she composed her first soundtrack for an experimental film essay with “Possessed”.
“Atlas” is a space-filling sound production that stimulates the imagination and body reflexes in equal measure; it stimulates, but also has the potential to unsettle, even frighten. And of course the sound journey does not end with jazz, “Atlas” is, nomen es omen, a cartography of the sound biotopes that Laurel Halo repeatedly visits, ambient, experimental electronics or even Krautrock in its poetic form.
Thomas Venker

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