Jessica Ekomane / Laurel Halo

Manifold / Octavia

Portraits GRM • 2024

The Portraits GRM label series showcases artists expanding the possibilities of electronic music at the Ina GRM Institute in Paris. The new split release »Manifold/Octavia« by Jessica Ekomane and Laurel Halo develops a polyphonic narrative into a multi-voiced universe that contrasts with the romantic and mysterious socialisation of jazz and classical music. On her 17-minute piece »Manifolds«, French musician Jessica Ekomane creates a disarming and strange atmosphere. Polymetric clicks are replaced by synthetic dissonances until a relaxing chamber music begins and the piece ends with swelling bleeps.

The entirely computer-generated work features a polyphonic chorus that leaves the audience with a disorienting vividness. In contrast, Laurel Halo’s Octavia plays with delicate piano motifs and floating strings. Inspired by the idea of a »spider’s web city« from Italo Calvino’s novel »Invisible Cities«, »Octavia« seems like a hidden puzzle piece from her last album »Atlas«, for which she had already been stretching and manipulating her material in the Paris studios in 2011. Soothing, smoky film sequences are captured again and again by a booming atmosphere—the arrangement evokes a dreamlike desire for endless repetition.