Aurora Halal has been expertly curating Brooklyn’s Mutual Dreaming party since 2011, hosting the crème of modern electro, techno and house DJs, but it was only last year that she began to release her own music. On her debut Passageway EP was a producer fully formed, offering gritty rhythms packed with drama, synthesising techno’s new and old schools into a consuming vision.
Now for her second solo outing Halal has shifted style, swapping grimy distortion for a polished sheen. Here she sketches svelte figures that recall Detroit’s star-gazing techno legacy, which accentuates her talent for dreamy, hypnotic melodies. Opener Shapeshifter goes down smooth, its twinkling melodies skirting a swift electro pulse, while Sunlight stalks over mesmeric keys and a diving bass hit, oozing Bladerunner drama.
Sleep Distortion lives up to its name, a slackened pace drawing attention to the gently shifting bass patterns which conjure a delicious broken groove, drawing us into the melancholy harmonies of highlight Just Tell Me. The only misstep is second cut Death of Real, whose burbling acid line seems strangely buried, its stripped woodblock rhythm not given the heft to really hit home. The added Version of Death of Real gives some much needed juice to the drums but somewhat loses the ebb and flow of the original’s melody.
That Halal would attempt a sharp stylistic change after only one EP is a credit to her production talent, a true shapeshifter. What’s more the decision to downplay the rhythms works wholly to her advantage, allowing both the percussive subtleties of her arrangements and the dreamy melodies she weaves to shine bright and clear.