Hal Kelly has always had a fascination with the absurd, the unusual and the strange. Since their first synth-based experiments in Garage Band, they have developed a style that is entirely unique, often rejecting genre conventions in favour of idiosyncratic experimentations. Their music is highly diversified, ranging from dreamy synth-pop to psychedelic electronic suites, through meditative ambient moments and hectic sample-based beats. Their approach combines analogue synthesisers, creative sampling techniques and multi-layered vocals. Hal generally works in Ableton Live, allowing for improvisational composition processes and a smooth transition to on-stage performance. Following their first two albums Like A Liquid and Ears Eaten, their third album, set to be released later this year, is their most startling and ambitious solo project to date.
© Evé Moonie-Oduro
© Ines Sacof
Hal has taken on the role of musical director for shows by Tremolo Theatre, Sugarscratch Theatre, Bristol Old Vic Outreach and their own collaborative theatre company, Propolis Theatre. They also have experience in other aspects of theatre-making, having been one of two actors in FellSwoop’s production Ghost Opera, provided music and sound for Bristol’s improvisational Closer Each Day Company, and co-created three shows with poet Chris White. For the last two years, Hal has been a member of SOUNDER, a sound art collective with members in Brighton, UK, and Bern, Switzerland. In March 2022, SOUNDER exhibited two works at the Sound Art Brighton festival: Soundskating and SOUNDER Postcards.
Hal’s work is rooted in socialist politics and a combination of existentialist and Buddhist philosophies. Highly critical of the capitalist system we live in, and with a strong belief in an individual’s potential to transform their own lives, Hal creates work designed to take the audience out of their routines and encourage them to delight in unfamiliar sonic worlds and surreal soundscapes. The aim is often to prompt the audience, either overtly or through subtle means, to become more present in their daily lives. As a dance enthusiast, Hal is also keen to encourage others to release their inhibitions and appreciate the ancient joy of communal dancing.