Song of the week: Kuedo - Work, Live & Sleep In Collapsing Space (Laurel Halo remix)

Laurel Halo rework of new Kuedo single is a beautiful, sinister affair.

Next month sees the release of a new EP from Kuedo entitled ‘Work, Live & Sleep in Collapsing Space’. The EP is a revisiting of the time Kuedo spent making ‘Severant’, his critically acclaimed 2011 album, albeit with an interesting twist. Featuring a previously unheard album cut and two remixes from Laurel Halo and Claude Speeed, it is the Laurel Halo track that is a particular stand-out. It is as gorgeous as it is creepy, and is frankly one of the best remixes we’ve heard in a long time.

Whilst Claude Speeed’s Infinity Ultra Rework is a delicate and sparse affair, building featherweight strings into dreamy synths, the Laurel Halo remix is its more sinister twin. The strings are always present on the EP, but with Laurel they kick in with a staccato intensity that unsettles rather than guides us. By stripping away the original until its bones are bare, she is free to weave a bittersweet melody into off-kilter drums that hint to the dramatic rolling percussion of the original, and suggests an air of melancholic drama that really brings the EP to life. There’s a tangible sense of pressure with Laurel. It’s as if each echo only has so much space to reverberate in. As if she is forced to bounce back on herself. The track gradually becomes more and more wrought with each punch of string and fizz of percussion until it feels almost stunted. By its final movements, it feels as if she’s trying to break free from this collapsed space.

What is even more striking about Laurel Halo’s remix is how unlike the original it is. Kuedo’s cut taps into the brooding intensity of ‘Severant’ whilst taking it in a more club-orientated direction, but he’s more than happy for it to be re-interpreted. As Kuedo explains, his track is “more immediate, aggressive and club-y than anything from the album. It’s quite grandiose, but the title refers to the unhealthily cramped (but thankfully brief) living situation where I wrote it. It’s a kind of dark italo arpeggio, an 808 trap attack. I wanted the album to be more soft and growing, so I left it off, but it’s great to see it released in a single format. Laurel Halo and Claude Speeed both created wholly different, abstracted interpretations of the track but always using the root melodic structures. It’s pretty cool how the three versions compliment each other.”

Laurel Halo’s track is very much a compliment to Kuedo’s, and it is the way the three compliment each other that structures the EP as a whole. There is a real sense of craftmanship in play here. Each track puts forward a personal vision of what it means to exist in a claustrophobic environment – how it feels like to be isolated, worn out and under pressure – and it’s Laurel Halo’s re-imagining of the title in particular that really captures the scene.

Kuedo’s ‘Work, Live & Sleep in Collapsing Space’ EP is released on June 4th 2012 through Planet Mu. Laurel Halo’s ‘Quarantine’ LP is released on May 21st 2012 through Hyperdub.

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