Laaban attended the first Tallinn Boys' Gymnasium from 1934 to 1940. In 1939–1940 and 1941–1942 he studied composition and piano at the Tallinn Conservatory. In 1940–1943 Laaban studied Romance languages at Tartu University's faculty of philosophy. In 1943 he went to Sweden, fleeing the Soviet occupation of Estonia, and continued studying Romance languages and philosophy (1943–1949). Laaban worked as a lecturer in Stockholm University and was a member of AICA.
Laaban mainly wrote surrealistic poetry and was one of the first poets in Estonia to practice that genre. He has written essays and articles on art and literature. Also, he has translated many Estonian poet's works to Swedish (examples: Artur Alliksaar, Betti Alver, Jaan Kaplinski, Viivi Luik, Paul-Eerik Rummo) and German (examples: Juhan Liiv, Gustav Suits, Jaan Oks, Henrik Visnapuu, Marie Under). He has also written art critics and literary works of artists such as Frederic Iriarte, Endre Nemes, Franco Leider, Rafael Bellange, Lech Rzewuski and others.
- "Ankruketi lõpp on laulu algus" (1946)
- "Rroosi Selaviste" (1957)
- "Oma luulet ja võõrast" (1990)
- "Marsyase nahk" (1997)
- "Magneetiline jõgi" (2001)
- "Sõnade sülemid ja sülemite süsteemid" (2004)
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