Aurora Halal, the celebrated Brooklyn-based artist, has carved a distinct niche in the electronic music landscape with her uncompromising approach to techno and house. Her journey weaves sound, vision, and innovation, establishing her as a resonant force in contemporary music and art scenes. On Friday, November 24, Aurora Halal joins Khidja as JETLAGGED returns to Control Club.
Halal’s signature style is a fusion of shadowy, psychedelic elements with a tangible intensity that resonates through her hardware live sets and DJ performances. Her artistic approach is immersive, often leading audiences into deep, hypnotic states with a blend of hazy, dubby techno, melodic, offbeat house, and splashes of acid. This distinctive sound has been a staple in her self-released EPs Passageway, Shapeshifter, and Liquiddity.
Halal’s material, celebrated for its raw and psychedelic edge, has graced notable labels such as Lovers Rock and her own Mutual Dreaming imprint. Characterized by analog synthesizers and drum machines, her unique sound palette harkens back to minimal synth, disco, Detroit techno, and Chicago house roots. This sound, both spontaneous and deeply hypnotic, has led to quality mixes for esteemed platforms like ILIAN TAPE, NTS, Dekmantel, FACT, Resident Advisor, Smoke Machine, and Beats In Space.
Emerging in the early 2010s, Halal initiated the Mutual Dreaming party series. The event would be a transformative movement in Brooklyn’s nightlife. This series reflects Halal’s deep-seated aspirations, influenced by diverse genres and eras, from Arthur Russell’s New York City to 80s Italo disco. Mutual Dreaming transcended Halal’s initial vision, evolving into a unique entity that resonated with the contemporary pulse of electronic music, which included a full-on festival. The most recent festival, in September 2023, featured a lineup including Batu, Ben UFO, DJ Plead, Lena Willikens and Vladimir Ivkovic, Livwutang, and more.
The Sustain-Release festival, co-founded by Halal, truly exemplifies the breadth of her ethos. It is a manifestation of an alternative electronic music culture. Halal’s approach to Sustain-Release, akin to organizing an underground rave, highlights her commitment to authentic community-driven experiences. This DIY ethos is not merely about the music; it’s a political statement, a conscious choice to step outside mainstream paradigms. Halal’s realization that every aspect of American culture, including her work, is inherently political has only deepened her commitment to creating spaces that are free from sexism and racism.
Outside of Mutual Dreaming and Sustain-Release, Halal’s DJ sets and live performances testify to her artistic depth. Renowned for her ethereal, high-voltage sets that span deep techno, hypnotic acid, electro, and drum & bass, she creates an otherworldly atmosphere, likened to peers like DJ Nobu. Her method of using long, luxurious blends allows her to make two tracks converse so that the sum exceeds its parts. This approach has landed Halal several residencies worldwide at some of its most renowned nightlife institutions. These include her current residency at NYC’s Nowadays and regular appearances at iconic clubs like Berghain and De School. These powerful performances engage body and mind, making her a sought-after artist at forward-thinking underground clubs and festivals worldwide, including Dekmantel, The Crave, Unsound, and Atonal.
In her collaborative projects, such as Ital & Halal and Innergaze (with Jason Letkiewicz, aka Steve Summers), Halal explores further dimensions of sound, resulting in a range of hypnotic acid and electro tracks. Her work with Ital, particularly th The Day After Ep, demonstrates her ability to seamlessly integrate with other artists while maintaining her distinctive style.
Beyond music, Halal’s prowess as a visual artist and videographer is equally impressive. She has directed documentaries about notable figures like modular synth godfather Morton Subotnick and the Ceephax Acid Crew, and her video art extends to music videos and event installations. This visual aspect of her work complements her musical output, creating a multi-sensory experimental and non-commercial experience. She has even forayed into fashion, scoring runway shows and working alongside generative AI artist Ezra Miller.
Overall, Aurora Halal is an innovator and a visionary. Her work transcends the boundaries of electronic music, visual art, and event production. Not just as a creator of music and visual art but as a curator of experiences that resonate with audiences on a profound level, Aurora Halal is one of the most intriguing and influential figures in techno and house music today.