Usually sporting the name Low Jack, Hallais steps out under his own name for a new release on veteran experimental electronic imprint Modern Love. The album is an ambitious gamble at a concept album that winds thick clouds of shoegaze leaning electronics around a narrative that mirrors the rise and fall of a 30 for 30 style sports story. It arcs through triumph and betrayal, decline and salvation before settling into the kind of melancholy even keel the stores often land on. For all its ambitions, the album plays well as an arc, whether you glean the sports story or not.
Hallais sweeps the listener up in tentative hues of swelling anticipation, but tellingly its a track called “Everything (Good)” that might be the best dual image of American success. The track is driving, but distorted – a feeling of blissful invulnerability fractured into broken mirror static. It’s the kind of song that embodies the overload that’s perceived as all being well, with a rotted core ready to break. That point seems like the beginning of the decline, and he maps out the seediness morphing into neediness following that point driving through the excellent “Fantasy (4U)” which brings to mind subtler works from Darkside.
As he winds down into the fall and rebuild, the album finds a calmer veneer shot through with the kind of thick tones that Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Yves Tumor have found their niche in of late. If this is the direction that Hallais is headed in, then I’m on board 100%, but if its a one-off, then its still a great example of distorted emotions bent through the electronic veil. You’d do well to find a quiet place to let this one sink in.
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