of "Tricolore" by Haiku Salut
Wood, Sophie Barker, and Louise Croft are no strangers to unorthodox
instrumentation—their playful use of a seemingly endless bag of
classroom-like instruments in The Deirdres is what made that band so
special in the first place. Fast forward a few years and we’ve
got the beautiful Haiku Salut. The girls haven’t gotten rid of
those tiny instruments, but they have tossed away the vocals in favor
of an even bigger bag of tricks and more mysterious soundscapes. Think
early Múm, Tenniscoats, and perhaps some of Lullatone’s
more organic moments.
On Tricolore (set for release in March via the HDIF label!) they employ
a miniature orchestra of loops, bloops, flutters, and buzzes to create
one of the dreamiest records of the year. It’s worth many careful
listens, and even kind of begs for it. The short compositions (the longest
track on the record comes in at a modest 5:15) twist and turn in such
unpredictable ways for their brief lifespans that you’re left
trying to figure them out again and again—after 15+ listens now,
the brilliant explosion of color on “No, You Say It” at
the record’s close is still a wonderful surprise.
The record opens with “Say It” and closes with “No,
You Say It” as if the almost 40 minutes in between occurred within
the blink of an eye, held between two breaths of a conversation. Maybe
that’s what you’d see if you magnified a few brief moments
of thought: an infinite amount of shapes and colors moving about both
chaotic and calm, but in perfect harmony. It’s the perfect fairytale
young women from the rock'n'roll heartland of the Derbyshire Dales,
Haiku Salut sound both winningly fresh and playfully artful on this
charming debut. They cite French soundtrack composer Yann Tiersen, Icelandic
avant-pop collective Mum and cryptic Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami
as influences, which is just the right side of pretentious. But beneath
their surface air of hand-knitted cupcake whimsy, these pastoral electro-acoustic
instrumentals are sophisticated affairs, from the finger-picking glitch-folk
of "Leaf Stricken" to the accordion swells of "Six Impossible
Things". If Sigur Ros shared a cottage in Dovedale, they might
just sound as magical as this.
Salut have me stumped. Sure, I can describe them as gorgeous, inventive,
summery, captivating and uplifting. But when it comes to describing
how they actually sound, I’m struggling for references. There’s
a sense of adventure and restlessness here, and a brilliant variety
of instruments and song structures that suggests Psapp or even The Books
(especially on the glitchy, almost Aphex Twin-like Leaf Stricken). More
sedate, mournful tunes like Los Elefantes have a dash of Michael Nyman
or even Beirut with a wonky drum machine. Closing track No, You Say
It builds to an Orbital-style ‘taste the lasers’ climax.
But those are just clues. Looks like you’ll have to get hold of
a copy and work it out for yourself.
Doctor Who been a French silent stop-motion adaptation of a Japanese
manga, its soundtrack may have sounded something like this. Haiku Salut’s
dazzling instrumental album is surprising and refreshing, and contains
a sort-of instrument-based characterisation that brings to mind Prokofiev’s
‘Peter and the Wolf’: slightly bellicose accordion; cheerful
glockenspiel and enthusiastic Casio; adventurous classical guitar; strong,
capable, yet melancholy piano. If you like Tiersen’s soundtrack
to ‘Amelie’ and Hayman’s ‘Lido’, then
this should similarly delight.
by European soundtracks, there's an undeniable filmic quality to Haiku
Salut's debut album. The twelve tracks on Tricolore bleed into one another
with a clattering of melodica, accordion, guitars, loop pedals and samplers.
The resultant instrumental folktronica has a childish glee that sits
somewhere between the bewitching oddness of Mum and the electronic shoegaze
of Ulrich Schauss.
Derbyshire trio's ability to create a cross-section of mood and style
is reflected on 'Lonesome George', which has the saucy swagger of Parisian
cafe culture, and 'Watanabe', which has highly strung neo-classical
piano lines that circle in tight repetition. Elsewhere the outfit's
atmospheric inventiveness embraces samurai-sharp programming on 'Haiku
Interlude 1" and almost rustic reflection on 'Six Impossible Things'.
In general though, the experimental orchestra is best heard as a suite
of tracks that create impressionistic soundscapes rather than individual
pieces of work. To that end, Tricolore is an assured, ambitious debut
that just needs to be picked up a film director to find its natural
God Is In The TV
is how Haiku Salut describe themselves, but I’m not even sure
whether this actually covers the number of bases that their debut album
effortlessly flits through over it’s twelve tracks. The all female
trio of Gemma, Louise and Sophie, from the Derbyshire Dales, already
have one EP under their belt: 2012?s How We Got Along After the Yarn
Bomb. A track from which was featured in a short film entitled ‘Three
first listen, Tricolore will immediately draw you in, and from here
you will be drawn deeper and deeper, continually discovering new noises
within these bizzarre instrumental soundscapes to keep you coming back.
A little twee perhaps in parts (no bad thing), but that’s also
offset perfectly with a tonne of electro glitches, noises, bleeps and
beats. The album definitely has an air of soundtrack about it in many
places and given the band say their music is influenced by the film
soundtracks of Yann Tiersen and Benoît Charest, as well as being
heavily influenced by the writing of Haruki Murakami it’s not
really that surprising.
Haiku Salut have a huge arsenal of instruments at their disposal and
live each member seems equally comfortable chipping in with playing
any of them, swapping around like a game of musical pass the parcel
where the track requires it.
It’s hard to pick single tracks out as highlights as the album
sits so well as a full body of work, taking you on a near forty minute
journey to somewhere else and providing some escapism from the hubbub
of the daily grind. Fans of Amelie will immediately feel at ease. Los
Elefantes was released as a download and has had airplay on BBC6 from
several of the DJs and its easy to why, its absolutely glorious from
start to finish. Beautiful piano joined by accordian which then drops
to bass notes before some electro glitches slowly bring the whole thing
back to an elated climaxe complete with tribal-esque drumming.
This is the most interesting thing I’ve heard so far this year
and urge you to check it out.
impressions, that is so initial that you haven't heard the music yet,
reveal a possible Japanese connection in the name Haiku Salut, as well
as a French one, echoed in the album title 'Tricolore'. The artwork,
well that could remind you of lots of things; Van Gogh maybe? It's as
though the actual identity of the band (three girls from Derbyshire)
is being deliberately kept hidden, or maybe it's simply not relevant
and they'd rather we just got on with listening. The song titles are
in keeping with this: 'Watanabe' is a common Japanese surname; there's
a track named 'Los Elefantes' (Spanish) and one named 'Glockelbar' (Swedish).
Being entirely instrumental only adds to the mystery, especially as
the songs contain elements and instruments from many different cultures.
You could loosely describe 'Tricolore' as folktronica, baroque-pop or
alt-folk, although none of these are a direct match for what is a truly
unique collage of ideas. Haiku Salut say it best with "baroque-pop-folktronic-neo-classical-something-or-other",
an unbelievably exact representation of their sound. Guessing what instruments
are being used when is a challenge in itself, and we suspect a few found
sounds have been incorporated into the musical stew. Some parts are
straightforward; acoustic guitar, harmonica and organ of some kind make
up the beginning of 'Sounds Like There's A Pacman Crunching Away At
Your Heart' (?!), but the second half sounds like everything's been
wired through a ZX Spectrum, before brass of some kind wraps things
up. The story is similar for much of the rest.
Because this is such an imaginative album it deserves a listen, whatever
your usual taste. The way they make piano and strange glitches mix with...
whatever those other sounds are on 'Leaf Stricken' is excellent. If
Four Tet is to folktronica what Orbital were to 90s dance music, then
Haikut Salut are Squarepusher; inventing new techniques, pushing new
ideas and bravely pressing ahead with a album they know won't gain them
millions of sales. That's not the point. Single 'Los Elefantes' is French
accordion but with an eastern flavour mixed in; 'Six Impossible Things'
follows suit. Elsewhere there are snippets and bits and bobs and experiments
and innovations and a little madness. It's playful and autumnal, sometimes
traditional and maybe even pioneering at times, but you could never
describe this wonderful journey of sound a boring one.
Thank Folk For That
Salut are an all-female three-piece instrumental band from Derbyshire
who describe themselves as ‘baroque-pop-folktronic-neo-classical-something-or-other’.
Snappy. They released an EP called How We Got On After The Yarn Bomb
back in August 2011, a four-track record which, although lovely, might
as well have been written by Yan Tiersen for Amelie 2 (P.S. someone
should actually write that film and this should actually be the soundtrack).
Their debut album is called Tricolore - more French love, if you care
to remember those sterling textbooks – and once more features
more than a light touch of accordion. This time, though, there’s
some dubstep beats and bleeps thrown in, alongside varied traditional
instrumentation. I suppose you have to try doubly hard to keep things
interesting when you’re lyric-less. In the case of Tricolore,
this is not limited to orchestration, but applies also to genre and
language. The track listings read like a multilingual madman on the
bus to the moon, from Glockenbar to Los Elefantes to Watanabe. Their
very name, Haiku Salut, is a Japanese-French word marriage. This is
a band that either doesn’t want to be pinned down, wants to make
out that they’re really worldly, or doesn’t know what they’re
Occasionally, it does sound a bit weird hearing a glockenspiel and an
accordion delivering twee musical snippets atop some pretty frantic
electronic beats. In Glockenbar, these two strands come together to
create something that sounds like a musical train having its wheel changed,
in a good way. This electronic addition alternates between being overwhelming
when it starts to trip over itself in Leaf Stricken, but then sorely
lacks in songs like Rustic Sense of Migration and Los Elefantes (the
first release from the album which you can listen to here). The unexpected
combination of ukulele, accordion, pianos, loops, beats, bleats and
wiggles can work well, particularly for this band. But it needs handling
with care and restraint.
Album highlights are the wonderfully understated Haiku Interlude #1
and Six Impossible Things, in which the balance of innovative instrumentation
and glorious traditional French music is perfectly struck. Sounds Like
There’s A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart could easily be
a Deerhoof song, in title alone. It’s kind of silly, but undeniably
enjoyable. That’s the thing about this band; it’s not perfect,
but it’s engaging, intelligent and well-meaning.
Salut are a trio of Derbyshire instrumentalists who use accordions,
pianos, guitars and laptop-looperies to create a truly unique and stunning
soundscape. Once described as “Like Sigur Ros, if Sigur Ros played
toy instruments and were from the North”, their debut album Tricolore
(pronounced Tricolore) is to be released by London based indie label
'How Does It Feel To Be Loved'? on March 25th of this year.
Describing Haiku Salut was once an easy task; you would simply shut
your eyes and point in the general direction of an Amélie DVD,
hoping no further questions would follow. Since their debut EP How we
got along after the Yarn Bomb however, these bumbag-clad lasses have
shed their influence riddled sleeves, revealing something much more
unique, inventive and spectacular, making the job of assigning relative
equivalents to their sound rather arduous.
The succinct way of describing their album would be “folktronica”
although that would simplify their sound to the point of it being wrong.
Instead it’s playful, joyous, ambitious and beautiful from the
start, interjecting Aphex Twin style glitch, Beirut-esque wobbly folk
and an ambiance reminiscent of early múm. Some have even pointed
to comparative counterparts such as the Books, and Psapp in way of describing
Tricolore, and to those people I would nod in moderate agreement. Tricolore
is all of these things, but it’s also so much more.
Songs such as Sounds like there’s a Pacman crunching away at your
heart and Lonesome George Orwell, there’s no-one like take their
influence from the classical era, building on whimsical and waltz style
guitar melodies to create an almost unique genre of Baroque-pop, or
Baroque n’ Roll, if you’re that way inclined. Even in excess
electro masterpiece Leaf Stricken, the intricate and poignant melodies
ring throughout, mixing classical and glitch like it’s the most
natural thing in the world, leaving you to wonder why you hadn’t
heard something like this before?
Carrying on this theme is Six impossible things, a song which you may
think starts fairly demure, sure, but before you know it will have you
skipping down the street, grabbing passers-by exclaiming “don’t
ask, just dance” as you get carried away by the increasing audible
trumpet apocalypse that would surely bring down any walls around Jericho.
This theme seems fairly consistent through Tricolore, while it is anything
but formulaic; it does have a tendency to build up to a somewhat exuberant
end. Even in Glokelbar (personal favourite) a song with only 3 instruments,
the ever increasing glockenspiel layers build gently around you without
every becoming too much.
But just when you think you have gotten this album sussed, Just when
you think you are comfortable, you get the Phat, haunting beat of single
Los Elefantes dropped on yo ass, crafting an epic eeriness perfectly
captured in the video produced by Albion Sky Productions (which we featured
here). The video depicts a devilishly handsome chap, chasing a gasmask
clad lass carrying a red balloon. It’s beautifully shot and personally,
I never tire of watching it. As additional insider information, I can
offer you the fact that the gasmask contained asbestos.
Part of me wants to describe every song on this album as each has its
story to tell, but that would ruin the surprises which lie in wait for
you. Suffice to say its instrumentation ranges from Watanabe, which
involves 6 hands and one piano all the way to Train Tracks, an orchestral
onslaught which builds to a euphoric elation that you feel you could
almost breathe in. While every song seems individually perfect, the
album as a whole is both a shower and a grower, on each listen you’ll
find a new reason to go back and fall in with it all over again. I myself
am hitting the 60 listen mark and I'm yet to find an occassion where
Tricolore isn't the perfect soundtrack to my day. The world is a better,
more joyous place because of this album.
Although there is no singing to speak of, it’s the music itself
which acts as narrator, leading your smiling face through an elaborate,
honest and sophisticated story with each instrument playing a lead character.
You’ll easily become lost in the many twists and turns, but that’s
ok, it’s a beautiful world to be lost in.
Louder Than War
gave us flashbacks to too many hours playing Rainbow Islands (in a really
good way) but with this album of luscious yet gentle electro indiepop
Haiku Salut have one of the most intriguing albums of the year so far.
When it gets to this time of year it feels as if winter has been going
on forever. Sunlight and greenery seem vague to the memory as if you
only might have once read about them in a dusty book. It takes real
effort to believe there will be an end to shimmering frosts or gloom
that keeps whole days in twilight.
But, I hear, the change of season is coming and the truth in that was
easier to believe when soundtracked by Tricolore; a refreshing burst
of gamboling melodic spring.
There is a real mix here of sounds which are luscious and warm with
the colder synthetics of electronica. The band describe their sound
and that’s pretty much as near to pinning this down as you can
It’s a bit of this, a bit of that and then a pinch of something
unexpected. But it’s a mix in the right ratio. A walk through
pixelated trees, into a deep musical imaginations.
Il Lonesome George (Or Well, There’s No-one Like) is a sea shanty
swell and fall of accordion which gradually builds to let in other sounds
and tempos. There are pauses and at least one flourish which triggers
an instant flashback to New Zealand Story on the Amiga 500.
The sounds of lo-fi early gaming creep in and around a lot of the album;
here its the flourish of the Kiwi, elsewhere it’s the redundant
back and forth of Pong, further still it is the tinny discordant notes
juxtaposed with something more polished. It gives a familiar yet retro
feel to an album which overall looks forward rather than back.
Lead single Los Elefantes begins as a carefully picked path through
jutting piano notes as a woebegone tide of accordion washes ever closer.
The quickening pace of the percussion breaking every now and then to
sweeping electronica gives a sinister yet urgent undertow. It’s
cinematic in it’s scope and yet almost claustrophobic by its climax.
Sounds Like There’s A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart has
enough indie folk finger picking to form a safety net as the bleeps
and bloops ascend into a whirring woozy haze of chords and brass. Once
again it piles on the layers of instruments but never feels crowded,
there is still a sense of each sound having enough breathing space amongst
The album closes with Watanabe – live all three of the band have
been known to play this on a single piano. It’s a flighty yet
resonant ending full of hope and the faint warmth of a season changing.
This is an accomplished debut from a band very definitely making music
their own way. Imaginative, playful and yet fully realised this is a
fascinating and fun introduction to the world of Haiku Salut.
trio Haiku Salut claim a broad sweep of influences – from the
novels of Haruki Murakami to the soundtracks of Yann Tiersen and Benoît
Charest – and if their debut album doesn't quite match the boldness
of their claims, it's a delicious little thing. Entirely instrumental,
with the core threesome joined by A Little Orchestra, it ends up being
oddly reminiscent of Beirut – with the crucial difference that
it evokes not the vastness of the New Mexico desert but, perhaps, a
recreation ground off a high street. Melodicas and cheap electronics
nestle alongside acoustic guitars and horns, odd pairings of style abound
– the Francophile accordion waltz of ||: Lonesome George (Or Well,
There's No-One Like) :|| is interrupted by peals of Spanish guitar –
but they work, creating a fresh, summery whole. Tricolore builds momentum
until, by the closing track, No, You Say It, it has found a house beat.
Still, it sounds less like a nightclub than a house party spilling over
into a front garden: canned beer and crisps, not Cristal.
trio Haiku Salut hit us with this amazing debut ‘Tricolore’.
There is a little favouritism going on here as I’m a Midlands
lad myself but seriously, no messing, this is a truly stunning debut.
Consisting of three girls, Gemma, Louise and Sophie, they create the
most fantastical mix of instrumental folktronica you’re ever likely
to hear, a gorgeous blend of acoustic interplay with a host of other
instruments; accordions, piano, trumpets and laptop twiddling all dance
around playfully with each other. ‘Sounds Like There’s A
Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart’ is a lot like the more accessible
moments of Jim O’Rourke circa ‘Bad Timing’ and ‘Leaf
Stricken’ is like a glitch/folk collision of Autechre meets Mum!
The single ‘Los Elefantes’ has been championed by BBC6 Music
and is great baroque-pop piece, it’s hard to believe that this
is a debut album when usually music this good takes years of crafting.
Haiku Salut though have really mastered this with ‘Tricolore’,
each track is a little piece of heaven, experimental but never too pompous
or pretentious, elements of Yann Tiersen collide with the more rhythmical
Leaf artists like Clue To Kalo. These girls have really captured my
heart today, this is an album of wonder and euphoria and a magnificent
Music Won't Save You
femminile proveniente dal Derbyshire, le Haiku Salut debuttano con un
album che coniuga tradizione folk, elettronica e gusto retrò.
Fisarmonica, ukulele, glockenspiel e pianoforte si associano a loop
e divagazioni al laptop nelle dodici tracce di “Tricolore”,
delicate miniature strumentali nelle quali si susseguono con naturalezza
vivaci danze bucoliche e melodie sottilmente malinconiche. Mentre le
prime possono rimandare ai Múm o alle Amiina, le pièce
più riflessive, spesso costellate da sparse note pianistiche,
muovono verso raffinati sottofondi jazz-lounge e romantici paesaggi
da colonna sonora.
Fragile sensibilità melodica per una gradevole rassegna di bozzetti
folktronici lievi come una brezza.
Drowned In Sound
Salut aren't your stereotypical band. Although I'm sure if they were
their wares wouldn't be any less fascinating. Born out of the East Midlands
DIY/lo-fi scene, members could be found playing in shambolic indie outfit
The Deidres not so long ago. However, Haiku Salut are more likely to
be found listening to obscure electronica or browsing novels on Japanese
postmodernism than discussing the merits of Sarah Records or which is
their favourite era of Primal Scream. Unconventional in so many ways,
and yet utterly alluring too.
Someone once described them as 'classical music for the unclassically
trained of hearing', and while that might not sound as complimentary
as it should, it's an apt place to start. In the case of the three women
that make up Haiku Salut - multi-instrumentalists Gemma Barkerwood,
Sophie Barkerwood and Louise Croft - there's a diverse spectrum of influences
that includes traditional folk, French film soundtracks and Eighties
computer game soundtracks.
What's more, there isn't a single vocal element to be found on Tricolore.
Although despite the band's protestations that the reason for this was
they never had anything of interest to say, there's so much going on
within Tricolore's imaginative 12 pieces as to suggest invention and
originality are two traits definitely at the forefront of Haiku Salut's
make-up. Combining various forms of instrumentation including acoustic
guitars, old fashioned keyboards, horns and virtually the entire percussion
family (not to mention several childrens toys too), Tricolore is a smorgasbord
of aural delights befitting of its colourful nature and occasional Parisienne
Opener 'Say It', a xylophone led introductory piece that could easily
double up as incidental music for a 'Mothercare' commercial, gives way
to the acoustically driven 'Sounds Like There's A Pacman Crunching Away
At Your Heart'. However, 90 seconds in, via a fanfare of horns and obtuse
beats, it takes on a quasi-symphonic life all of its own. Comparisons
with the likes of Actress or Beirut not being entirely wide of the mark,
'Leaf Stricken' highlights a two-stepped, dare we say it, dancier element
than previously associated with Haiku Salut. Similarly on the excellently
titled 'Glockelbar', dioramic beats vying for attention with all sorts
of piano-laden eccentricities taking place in the foreground.
The somber likes of 'Los Elefantes' finds Haiku Salut a more inhibited
approach. Structured around a simple piano melody, there's elements
of John Barry and Ennio Morricone in its lavishly crafted melancholy.
Indeed there are times when Haiku Salut's take on maudlin sounds like
the most joyous celebration on Earth. While it would be unfair to select
one standout moment from an album bristling with excellence, penultimate
number 'Train Tracks For Wheezy' epitomises everything that makes Tricolore
and its creators such exciting propositions. Building from its humble
acoustic guitar and piano introduction into a tumultuous finale of trumpets
and strings courtesy of one-time Pipette Monster Bobby's A Little Orchestra.
Grandiose without resorting to superfluous pomposity, it illustrates
the playful nature of a band still unbelievably coming to terms with
the fact their music has attracted a captive audience.
And if Tricolore is anything to go by, those numbers look set to increase
in droves. A refreshing debut. Further proof that the UK independent
music scene is thriving.
listening to Tricolore, the debut album from Haiku Salut, the last place
one imagines the band hailing from is a town in the Midlands. Like their
name, this album somehow manages to sound simultaneously Japanese and
European. Where some artists excel at creating work which absorbs and
reacts with their surroundings, Haiku Salut sound like idyllic daydreams
of the foreign and exotic.
The album's second track, 'Sounds Like There's a Pac Man Crunching Away
at Your Heart', encapsulates so much of the album, as much with its
title as with the song itself. Throughout the album, they use Casio
synth sounds lifted from vintage computer games, a slightly kitsch warmth
and a simple sense of melody one associates with the wordy lo-fi pop
of bands such as The Pastels or Belle & Sebastian. The song demonstrates
the three-piece's ability to take a basic melody and give it mileage
through surrealistic, shifting instrumentation and dynamic changes.
Opening with sombre acoustic picking, it promptly launches into 90s
computer game soundtrack territory, before finishing with burbling synth,
twinkling keys and morose brass.
The band wander through a plethora of ideas and genres. 'Leaf Stricken'
takes in glitchy drum machine beats and sparse synth-pop melodies, whereas
'Los Elefantes' sounds positively Napoleonic, with its melodramatic
piano chords, marching drums and crazed accordion. There seems to be
a canon of adjectives which get used ad nauseum when describing instrumental
music (transcendent, ethereal, soaring etc). However, there is only
one word that could be used to describe the cumulative effect of these
tracks through their odd ball instrumentation: The whole thing is just
Tricolore is grounded in a sweetness which charms the listener more
than anything else. Piano and guitar arpeggios often have a stumbling
quality reminiscent of the J-pop orchestrations of Toni Kudo. It's this
loveliness, the focus on melody above all else, which holds the songs
together through their stylistic meanderings.
Tricolore's press release mentions the bands affection for Yann Tiersen.
Appropriately, many of the songs do have a soundtrack quality, whether
cinematic or videogame. 'Lonesome George (or Well, There's No One Like)'
begins with lazy Spanish guitar before launching full-throttle into
a Hispanic hoedown. One can imagine this as an accompaniment to Orwell's
Homage to Catalonia. Elsewhere, the summery piano of 'Rustic Sense of
Migration' could be the score for a obscure French romantic comedy.
However, this quality can sometimes work against the album, in a way
which is easiest to express with a cinematic metaphor. Like watching
a foreign language film without any subtitles, although there is a great
deal that can still be absorbed and enjoyed, there is also a sense one
isn't getting the full experience. For all the wonderful music on display,
the songs on the album sometimes feel they are missing something, a
sense of narrative almost, to link all of the music together instead
of them just being isolated interludes.
As mentioned above, Haiku Salut have created something genuinely lovely
with Tricolore, with sweet melodies which will slowly charm their way
into your brain. Occasionally the songs seem a little detached from
each other, almost like a singles collection rather than a coherent
album, but it is a debut album worth hunting down, and Haiku Salut a
band well worth keeping an eye on.
the debut from Derbyshire trio Haiku Salut seems to contain medicinal
qualities - any weariness or apathy one may be feeling before playback
is immediately neutered by the sheer charm of this record. Their rich
instrumental trickery is both playful and intricately baffling, employing
an informed blend of multi-cultured influences. Often compared to Icelandic
experimentalist’s múm and French composer Yann Tierson,
Haiku Salut are an unpredictable emulation of these infuences. Early
stand out ‘Les Elefantes’ is a catchy synthesis of folk
and electronica, beginning with a solemn piano melody before gently
erupting into a manic union of harmonica, tribal drumming, strings and
IDM flavoured beats.
The absence of vocals on Triloclore allows the trio to fully expose
the intricacies of their musicianship. Armed with glockenspiels, accordions,
ukuleles, pianos, loop pedals and laptops they are able to create the
impression of a full orchestra through inventive layering and arrangements.
Penultimate track ‘Train Tracks for Wheezy (featuring a little
orchestra)’ is so beautifully grand and uplifting that it simply
eclipses everything before it, marking a perfect realisation of their
signature approach to baroque pop music. This twisted blend of traditionalist
folk coupled with the spit and shine of digital production lends Triloclore
a firmly contemporary sound while remaining faithful to their traditional
European influences. A perfect way to draw in the Summer.
favourite band of the month have chosen to release their debut album
at exactly the point where our love and obsession for them is at its
highest. That’s clever marketing. Haiku Salut are from Derbyshire
but they sound simultaneously French and Icelandic. What we mean by
those geographic generalisations is that their music is equal parts
floating, beautiful, European melodies played on accordion and classical
guitar, and subtle buzzing, clicky electronics courtesy of cheap keyboards
and electronic boxes (and things found in the school instrument cupboard).
Everything about Tricolore feels handmade but exquisitely so. It’s
lo-fi but not ragged or clumsy or accidental. This album is the result
of a lot of thought - of three brains thinking in the same direction.
We’re in no doubt that this is the sound that was in Haiku Salut’s
heads before they made it. Everything is where it should be.
With such a restricted palette of instruments and not a human voice
to be heard, there’s a danger that this album could’ve just
been pleasant. Or simply pretty (the kind of record that receives an
appreciative nod, never to be played again.) But this is a thrilling
and constantly delighting set of tunes. In a very short time it’s
become the record we always want to be listening to. It’s the
soundtrack to the film of our life - a deeply tedious and overlong feature
that’s made to seem moving and important by the music underscoring
our morning crawl on the 212 through Walthamstow.
Other reviewers have compared Haiku Salut to things we’ve never
heard and know nothing about. So read those if you need to know where
to file them. But they all feel the same way about Tricolore. That this
is a really special record by a really special group. A rare thing.
Salut are a band who create music well outside of 'the box' and it's
clear they share a love for most percussion instruments; Xylophones
and keyboards which are probabaly older than the majority of their fans.
If you find yourself yearning for something different or something more,
this trio's diverse, unique sound is something that you need in your
life. This is the type of album that other musicians would want to listen
to in order to move away from their own genre and gain new inspiration.
This trio's debut 'Tricolore' has such an uplifting positive feel to
it that even if the weather is crap outside and you are feeling down,
the music from this will bring sun light into your soul.
This purely instrumental album doesn't suffer from lack of vocals as
the music says everything it needs to. In parts, Haiku Salut lean towards
classical styles but it doesn't take long to find yourself immersed
into something that wouldn't sound out of place on a retro computer
game; 'Sounds Like There's A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart' not
only proves this but says exactly how it sounds! Madness!
Next we fly into 'Leaf Stricken' and straight away it's easy to imagine
one of the more commercial DJs sampling this to create a track that
would give most advert music supervisors a wet dream. 'Watanabe' showcases
simple yet incredibly effective piano playing, which might leave your
own fingers feeling a little tired without playing a single note, but
The great thing about 'Tricolore' is that you think you know what is
coming next, but that's never the case; 'Glockenbar' sounds like it
was created in a minor state of madness and might leave the listener
with a slight anxiety, however this is followed by 'Train Tracks For
Wheezy' which brings you back down to a mellow state.
The structure of 'Tricolore' is very clever and is constantly stimulating
the listener yet there's a beauty embedded in the creations which is
where the real aural joy is delivered. So as it is said, women are better
at multi-tasking than men and, with the amount of instruments Louise
Croft, Gemma Barkerwood and Sophie Barkerwood have managed to fit into
this album, there can only be one thing left to say, we Salute you (really
could not resist).
wouldn’t expect three young ladies from Derbyshire to create music
they label ‘Baroque-Pop-Folktronica-Neo-Pop-Something-Or-Other’
but I suppose what better place to create an amalgamation of the most
bizarre genres of music, and by the way, their description is EXACTLY
how debut album Tricolore sounds. Recently signed to the revered nightclub-come-record
label How Does It Feel To Be Loved- Haiku Salut make crazy instrumental
folk that’s been infected by a serious dose of the laptop blues,
manic sounds and instruments that most bands are too afraid to go near.
These girls show no sign of trepidation when creating this album and
have utilized the accordion (a notoriously difficult instrument to be
diverse with) to breathtaking effect on recent free single ‘Los
Elefantes’ – which has been picked up on the late night
slots of 6music. It’s a track that’s perfectly suited to
the post watershed hours of the day.
The real highpoint of ‘Tricolore’ is the hauntingly beautiful
‘Six Impossible Things’ that starts with dulcet guitar arpeggios’
before gradually more instruments envelope the track creating a foot-stomping
finale that’s more of a symphony than a song.
Throughout ‘Tricolore’ the real thing you notice is the
composition and the significance textural layering that is on display.
It’s a really clever but more importantly enjoyable album that
can seemingly take you from your dingy flat in Maidstone to inter-railing
throughout Europe and back in under 40 minutes.
Does It Feel To Be Loved has, since 2002, easily been one of London’s
best club nights. Its unpretentious and welcoming nature, often fuelled
with everything from Belle & Sebastian and Orange Juice to Tamla
Motown and Dusty Springfield, swipes away any negative connotations
our capital has for being a cold, brutal and rather heartless place.
The club’s founder and regular DJ Ian Watson is, to many, a god
amongst the indie pop/hardcore indie fraternity. In fact, as well as
playing tunes (mostly) past and present, Watson has a real stake in
In 2006, Watson set up a label to accompany the night, releasing a compilation
– a C86-esque mix for the mid-2000s – that included Suburban
Kids With Biblical Names and Butcher Boy. Following on from that, Watson
released Butcher Boy’s debut album, Profit In Your Poetry, Pocketbooks’
debut album Flight Paths and Butcher Boys’ follow-up React Or
Die, which achieved 93rd place in The Times’ 100 best albums of
the 2000s list (beating Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash).
Now, Watson has released another debut album on HDIF Records, this time
from Derbyshire Dales-based instrumentalists Haiku Salut.
The fact Louise, Sophie and Gemma cite Yann Tiersen as one of their
major influences – as well as the band’s name, obviously
– suggests Tricolore is a rather apt album title. Indeed, according
to the three, “Tricolore is based on the primary colours. Three
colours that create everything in the spectrum but when spun on a colour
wheel become nothing at all.”
The Tiersen influence and the tricolore/colour wheel idea come through
from the outset, with early track Sounds Like A Pacman Crunching Away
At Your Heart a mixture of acoustic guitar, piano and melodica before
accordion and, to cite the trio, “laptopery”, come to the
fore to produce what can be best described as a beautifully twee chiptune,
all blending together quite marvellously: the track does exactly what
the title suggests to wonderful effect.
Like Tiersen, who live can swerve from the familiar and well-known Amelie
and Goodbye Lenin! soundtrack-sounding material through to lesser-known
electronic and post-rock tracks, Haiku Salut veer from one sound and
style to the next. Leaf Stricken again utilises electronic means through
Múm sounding beats, before the additions of keyboard-based modulating
piano and touches of Spanish guitar; while Los Elefantes initially sounds
quintessentially Amelie-era Tiersen before subtly introducing and elevating
deep, hammering beats (presumably “Los Elefantes”) that
contrast the gentile nature of the accordion. It’s all rather
unpredictable, yet the core elements that make up each song –
the tricolore so to speak, from accordion and acoustic guitar through
to electronic beats and piano – are all applied differently, resulting
in a rich mixture of sounds and effects. Much like mixing primary colours.
The interestingly titled || : Lonesome George (Or Well, There’s
No-One Like) : || is a much more straightforward, accordion-driven affair;
while the more minimal Watanabe consists almost entirely of layered,
shimmering piano in traditionally played and, presumably, sampled form.
Indeed, despite its more minimal nature, Watanabe exhibits a real air
of complexity, with the layers of piano merging into something all-consuming
and graceful. Both tracks only serve to heighten the album’s varied
Glockelbar and Train Tracks for Wheezy both ebb the album back towards
electronica, with Glockelbar a myriad of tempos – from the languid
accordion to zippy glockenspiel samples and the return of Múm-inspired
rhythms – and Train Tracks for Wheezy achieving a degree of grandeur
with the addition of strings above a straightforward drum beat and glockenspiel.
Again, it somehow all merges to form something rich and quite lovely.
Like anything involving accordion and inspired by Tiersen and Múm,
the album can occasionally be accused of being too twee and mawkish.
However, this is why album closer No, You Say is so satisfying –
a left-field, entirely unpredictable conclusion of Dan Deacon proportions.
This shouldn’t have been entirely surprising – in promotional
images Gemma is seen wearing a Dan Deacon t-shirt – but it shows
there’s some necessary ballast there. These aren’t your
stereotypical twee indie lot – it’ll be interesting if they
end up showing this side more.
Watson has a real knack of discovering serious talent, backing it and
letting it be enjoyed by others: we can only wish there were more like
him. This is a splendid and rather accomplished debut album: one senses
we haven’t heard the last from Louise, Sophie and Gemma. Let’s
A Closer Listen
three women of Haiku Salut (one for each color of Tricolore) admit a
love for the music of Detekivbyran and múm and the writings of
Haruki Murakami, and their debut album does justice to all three. Accordion,
trumpet and glockenspiel feature strongly, as does a childlike sensibility.
One imagines the trio would not only love to hang out on a playground,
but that after riding the slide they might hit it, rub it, and tap the
stairs with sticks; and that none of them ever used a swing in the “proper”
way. If anyone told them that a piano was not for percussion, the lesson
didn’t sink in. The same can be said of other lessons: don’t
write 33-second songs, don’t stop suddenly, don’t shift
gears. Fortunately other lessons did sink in: have fun. Be creative.
Have fun. Instruments are everywhere.
Those who discovered the trio via last year’s split with Hopeless
Local Marching Band may have also tracked down their debut EP, How We
Got Along After the Yarn Bomb. The album was recorded in the middle
of the other two releases and as such will appeal to fans of each. The
abandon of the earlier work is present here, as well as the maturity
of composition found on the latter, as the influence of Yann Tiersen
is heard rising to the surface. (Thanks to its combination of strings
and a waltz tempo, “Train Tracks for Wheezy” sounds particularly
like a soundtrack work.) If there’s any small criticism to be
made, it’s that the performers gleefully name and flaunt their
influences when they are capable of being influences. We suspect the
shift will come with time.
Choosing favorites is as difficult as choosing between kettle corn and
cotton candy; one suspects that one may be better than the other, but
one would prefer to have both. ”Sounds Like There’s a Pacman
Crunching Away at Your Heart” is already a winner by virtue of
title alone, but it fulfills its promise by progressing from an acoustic
Zeppelin intro to a light Atari bleepfest to a Hjaltalin conclusion.
The more traditional “Rustic Sense of Migration” introduces
a fine interplay of piano, glockenspiel, bass and snare; and single
“Los Elefantes” offers the album’s best use of beat-driven
electronics. Haiku Salut may be “mum” on stage, but from
this point on, others will spread the word.
Beats Per Minute
of the most appealing aspects of art is that it doesn’t require
you to know the language to enjoy it. Most people probably can’t
identify the key or time signature to Beethoven’s “Moonlight
Sonata,” or be able to comprehend and appreciate Van Gogh’s
brushstroke technique, but that doesn’t mean people can’t
be enamoured by it. In music we attach ourselves to melodies, chords,
and lyrics that speak to us as an individual, which open up new worlds,
or reveal past memories.
Thus I admire and have a great fondness for musicians whose work is
solely instrumental. There’s something romantic about trying to
communicate (or create) an idea through notes alone, not relying on
actual words to get your point across. If anything, words can complicate
the work, acting as a distraction, like someone talking over another
person if not quite literally putting words or ideas in your head, allowing
personal interpretation to slip out of the picture. Kudos then to Haiku
Salut, a three-piece from Derbyshire in the UK who don’t bother
lyrics of any sort on account of “[having nothing] of interest
to say.” Their music fuses together classical elements with non-classical
styles and instruments, all married to amusingly long, silly song titles.
There’s plenty to interpret musically, but on their debut album
Tricolore, there doesn’t feel like there’s much actually
being said across the twelve tracks.
The album consists of two halves related in the instruments they share,
but separate in their tone. The first half leans more towards the playful
side of the trio’s personalities, melding together plenty of tiny
riffs and motifs, and fusing them together to create bigger wholes.
“ll: Lonesome George (Or Well, There’s No-one Like) :ll”
marries flamenco guitar flicks, militaristic drumming, and children’s
show theme music xylophone. It all snuggles together nicely but after
ninety seconds it’s done all it needs to do and spends another
minute and half exhaling and trying to find a pleasing cadence to finish
on. “Leaf Stricken” puts prepared piano and guitar beside
each other before washing the whole thing over with jittery, watery
electronics while “Watanabe” sounds like the three of them
sitting at piano together, each playing a section of the keyboard. They’re
charming in passing, sure, but they aren’t expressly interesting
moments that entice you back again and again. “Watanabe”
is odd moment in particular in that it should work better than it does.
The track is recorded in a way that lets you hear the keys being hit
as well as well as the notes themselves, but despite the sonic detail,
there’s still a human element missing. I dare say there’s
something robotic about it at times, like a player piano tinkering away
in an empty room at its own accord.
After a brief interlude, the album starts hitting the mark better on
its B side. Here they sound more formal and focused, and while that
might make me sound like a scrooge for not liking the fun elements of
their tracks (because I do, but to an extent), their music benefits
from sounding like it has purpose and direction. “Six Impossible
Things” drifts along with acoustic guitar at first, like a raft
on a peaceful sea, but before long it’s bobbing along pleasantly,
hitting on a sound of triumph with its horns and accordion working together
wonderfully. “Glokelbar” has plenty of sparkling percussion
instruments along with a semi-aggressive IDM beat running through it.
It could again be accused of not saying much, but its sense of movement
is enjoyable to be whisked away by. The same could be said for “Train
Tracks For Wheezy”, albeit capturing a more ambling pace that
soon opens up into a wonderfully unexpected string section that paints
a delightfully detailed picture of a steam engine chugging across a
cinematic landscape (granted it’s an image that’s encouraged
due to the song’s title, but it’s still a pleasing image
to take in).
Though they drop the classical genre when describing themselves (“classical
music for the unclassically trained of hearing”), there’s
plenty of other bands and artists outside that realm that Haiku Salut
owe a nod to: the horns here recalls Zach Condon’s arrangements
and the piano on “Los Elefantes” seems directly inspired
by Yann Tiersen. Although all this mention of accordions and piano might
bring to mind A Hack And A Hacksaw, there’s a separation from
that duo in that they seem rooted in styles indebted to Northern Europe
or North America as opposed to Eastern regions. It’s Iceland’s
múm that keep coming to mind when listening to Tricolore. All
the chirping electronics, melodicas and moments of childishness bring
the comparison to focus, and though Haiku Salut stray away from elfish
qualities (thankfully), they can still start a track or introduce an
electronic or acoustic element that will make me think I’m listening
to múm’s Early Birds instead.
Haiku Salut might struggle here to say something with their instruments
and soundscapes, but they can still evoke ideas. Some tracks move in
unexpected ways (the wandering tinkling of “Watanabe,” the
strange and beguiling sudden shift into a full on dance beat on final
track “No, You Say It”), which makes it hard to know what
to latch onto, while others move in predictable manners that come to
be something of a temporary pleasure (“Los Elefantes”).
Tricolore is enjoyable, but it’s a sum of two different parts;
together it comes off as strangely disjointed, like shifting from speaking
German to speaking Japanese. But in separate eighteen minute segments
it works better, more specifically the latter half. It begins to sounds
like the trio have caught onto a relatable language and have some idea
about what they want to say.
album is exceptional, it sounds as if The Album Leaf and Yann Tiersen
(Amelie soundtrack, amongst others) got together. It’s really
beautiful instrumental music.
the traditional and the modern is a move that often has us curling our
toes in apprehensive distrust. While it is something that can go very
right, it’s only much more likely to fall flat, resulting in something
that resembles a bit of an abortive try-hard, done lovelessly for its
own sake. And there’s often nothing sadder than that.
So, Derbyshire-based Trio Haiku Salut have certainly given themselves
very big and trendy shoes to fill, doubly so given that their entire
debut album Tricolore is an instrumental piece. So no lyrics here to
deflect and distract criticisms, but, after a good listen, I think it’s
safe to say that they don’t need to worry about any of that; immediately,
we are given a promising indicator of what’s to come. The opening
track Say It, electrically whimsical in its fragility and off-key amelody,
is a real embodiment of the tone and direction of the album; disarmingly
elegant, while just that little bit unhinged.
Next, Sounds Like There’s a Pacman Crunching Your Heart opens
as a sunset-soaked ruminative, with twangy acoustic strings rippling
on the slow swell of contented, pastoral chorus. The instrumental proficiency
of the trio is really quite admirable, as is their simplicity of execution,
but just when you were thinking things were a little too beautifully
conventional, drum machine thumps and buzzing lo-fi chirps come to promptly
pull the rug from under you.
Leaf Stricken continues this theme, blending truly mellow guitar work
with fractured, jittery drumtracks, while the beauty of the instrumental
piano work is further illustrated in Los Elefantes, betraying perhaps
more classical influences. Even in the absence of any digital shenanigans,
I would be perfectly content to sit and listen to that singular element
alone, but restlessly the track rises on the hypnotic and strained breaths
of turbulent accordion and intermittent synth blips. At the halfway
mark, the track blows out, and shifts over itself with rattling spacedust
and plonky bass, echoing into a more spacious and spiralling affair,
staccato accordion deflecting off of pattering wooden percussion.
The astutely titled II: Lonesome George (Or Well, There’s No-One
Like) :II yields impressive and fluttering Spanish guitar work, before
descending into the unsettling rise and fall of nautical accordion upon
an oppressive military drumbeat with interesting use of stop-start elliptic
silence, while Watanabe presents classical key work pure and simple,
and it’s pretty wonderful. Pattering raindrop keys zig-zag over
some of the best piano work on the album. They really know how to make
something that sounds elegant and has you helplessly infatuated.
At the halfway point in the album, Haiku Interlude #1 serves as a suitable
opener to the second half; I’m even a little disappointed that
its cavernous pluck of strings and scattering percussion wasn’t
expanded into a fuller track in place of others. However, following
that brief respite, we are welcomed by the now familiar embrace of classical
style guitar in Six Impossible Things. In spite of all of the album’s
avant-garde posturing, it’s hard to escape the irony that the
more conventional styles exhibited throughout it are its best; it’s
really difficult to overstate how the placid atmosphere created by the
simple lines enamours you as a listener. Then comes the ubiquitous accordion,
though instead of seasick churns, here the trio reach an even richer
aesthetic through its use; perhaps it gets a little overbearing as the
track goes on, but it flourishes into a jaunty and swirling waltz towards
the end that serves to keep things from getting stale.
Rustic Sense of Migration is particularly arresting for its more prominent
use of dual guitar lines, blending further the highs and the lows, which
really serves to heighten again at this point the beauty of those parts
throughout the album. This beauty swells as guitar lines shift into
piano lines, and remains statuesque in this beauty as it refrains from
any quirky dabbling, remaining purely conventional, and as you may have
guessed by this point, this is not a bad thing at all.
And then there’s Glockelbar. From the very beginning, you can
feel its promise, through the pulse of its clipping bass drum into the
hauntingly beautiful arpeggiated piano melodies and swirling and sombre
accordion. It builds ever so subtly, folding upon itself, intertwined
with chaotically percussive whispers and gently abrasive synth, before
erupting into…nothing. It just ends. Now this is obviously the
trio’s intention, but I found myself disappointed, hearing one
of their more compelling and comprehensive musical motifs – particularly
one that embodies the spirit of the album so wholly – evaporate
so suddenly just when I felt it had so much more potential.
Thankfully Train Tracks for Wheezy turns out to be what I had hoped
for from the previous track; beautiful piano and elegant violins drift
over tingling and pulsing percussion, along with some of the best and
most touching piano work on the album, hearkening back to Watanabe.
The accordion is here again of course, single-handedly transforming
the aesthetic, as it does elsewhere, into something it just couldn’t
be otherwise. Even better, the track pulls off the best moment of musical
paroxysm on the album so far as it explodes into another rolling psychedelic
and carnivalesque spiral, honed to a zany perfection.
And cleverly the whole thing comes full circle as the musical motif
from the opening track here gets a reprise in the closing track No,
You Say It. But just when you think it’s all going to fade calmly
and contentedly into a nice and familiar rounding-off of the albums
slightly off-kilter and maladroit classical reinventions, it surges
into an all-out rave! Two minutes left on the album, and I find myself
thinking ‘Where was all this earlier?!’. It’s just
brilliant. It is the first and only time that the album lets go of all
inhibitions and embraces some of the potential generic extremes that
the previous tracks have made increasingly apparent; even the accordion
work gets a new lease of life, overcharged and buzzing, fitting the
pace perfectly with a crushingly chromatic forward march.
I’m just so bewildered as to why they only bothered to go down
this route once, and in the albums dying moments. Now, what they have
done here on this record is admirable, relaxing and very, very enjoyable,
but it doesn’t grab you in the way you know it can and wish it
would. Each tracks strength lies in its classical and simplistic compositions,
as well as unorthodox instrumental choices; while the electronic trickery
serves to evolve the generic quality of the work as a whole (it’s
a call-out to modern classical artists, prompting a reinvention of the
wheel as to where such a revered and traditional style can be taken)
it never feels quite as integral as it could be. And this final breath
only proves that they still had so many tricks up their sleeve.
However, it cannot be denied that the album is a pleasure to listen
to, and more than a little interesting and original; their often near-seamless
fusion of the synthetic and the organic makes it seem as natural as
the classical sources that give birth to it in the first place. Relaxing
and alarming like dial-up birdsong, it really makes you wonder why more
people aren’t so brave as to try their hand at what the trio are
attempting. Crucially, the most exciting thing is that it pushes a new
hybrid genre, but there’s still much more work to be done, and
hopefully Haiku Salut will be the ones to do it – I’m confident
they have a lot more fire in them.
The Girls Are
Baroque pop folktronica of Haiku Salut is guaranteed to usher you into
spring the right way. On their debut LP Tricolore, this trio of multi-instrumentalists
(Gemma and Sophie Barkerwood, and Louise Croft) offer a wide spectrum
of musical inventiveness with influences running the gamut that includes
(but is not limited to) Balkan folk, Eighties computer games, traditional
folk, and French film soundtracks which display a unique hodge podge
of aural inventiveness.With a melange of instruments such as glockenspiels,
laptop mixing, loops, ukuleles, and accordions, theirs is a unique hybrid
‘Six Impossible Things’ begins with paired-down acoustic
guitars and keys, the addition of accordion provides layers of growing
intensity, sparse horns are ushered in, then all bursts out into a spring-in-the-park
joyfest the likes of which has not hit me since ‘A Sunday Smile’
from Beirut‘s The Flying Cup Club. ‘Train Tracks For Wheezy’
follows suit with delicate xylophone tinklings and swelling strings
that makes you feel like busting out into full-on Jaques Demy pastel
fantasyland and do your best Demoiselles de Rochefort happy dance.
Certain elements of early Yann Tierson can also be found in the dreamy,
yet melancholic, delicacy of ‘Los Elefantes.’ But, let no
mistake be made: there is absolutely no aping of styles, shared elements
are there but Haiku Salut find the right moments to take a minimalist
melody to otherworldly experimental shifts in electronic experimentation,
yet the two are seamlessly wedded. Under less capable hands, it could
have been too easy to stay safe and churn out a cloyingly precious surface
album incorporating a hybrid of Amelie moments and sway towards put-a-bird-on-it
preciousness, however Haiku Salut are not a surface value group, and
are not afraid of embracing the whimsical bittersweetness, or plunging
into left-field sophistication.
Entirely instrumental, they cite inspiration from the novels of Haruki
Murakami and the music of Benoît Charest. There is a raw experimentation
to be found in their work. Melding elements of neo-classicism as well
as electro loops that create a smooth cross-over into ambient electronic
pop, they firmly find their place alongside the likes of Ólafur
Arnalds, neo-classical experimentalist Hauschka. ‘No You Say It’
is an excellent play on acoustic build-up, subtlety, and taking the
germ of an idea from point A to point B before launching into a dancy
technopop wigout. ‘Il Lonesome George (Or Well There’s No
One Like)’ displays classical-style Spanish guitar elements as
well as A Hawk And A Hacksaw-esque Balkan folk pop at its finest. Energetic
and driving, there is not a filler to be found in this eclectic and
phenomenal debut album by this trio of East Midland lo-fi aficionados.
An exciting group, already laden with talent who promise to forge new
paths not even dreamt of yet, it’s high time you check them out
and make them a staple of your spring, or your 2013 for that matter.
Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other » : c’est
ainsi que Haiku Salut se décrivent. Ça n’est pas
pour autant que ce trio féminin du Derbyshire est exhaustif dans
la présentation qu’il fait de lui-même.
Dès l’écoute Tricolore vous happera pour ne plus
vous lâcher et vous serez entraîne de plus en plus profond
dans un univers fait d’instrumentaux bizarroïdes, de nouveaux
bruits et de panoramas soniques qu’on a en permanence envie de
réécouter. L’album peut s’avérer un
peu apprêté parfois mais ça n’est pas une
mauvaise chose car cela permet de contrebalancer les petites structures
électroniques qui jalonnent les compositions. Le disque pourrait
très bien d’ailleurs être une bande-son et, quand
on sait que les principales influences du groupe sont Yann Tiersen et
Benoît Carest, ça n’est pas réellement une
Haiku Salut a un large éventail d’instruments à
sa disposition et ses trois musiciens semblent également à
l’aise dans l’un comme dans l’autre, donnant ainsi
à leur premier opus un côté fantaisiste et ludique,
certes mais hautement professionnel.
Bien sûr, on ne pourra pas différencier une plage parmi
les autres tant Tricolore se veut avant tout une échappée
sous forme d’odyssée que l’on pourrait apparenter
à l’atmosphère particulière de Amélie
Poulain. On goûtera, ainsi, sur « Los Elefantes »
par exemple, la façon harmonieuse dont le piano passera de notes
hautes à notes basses, se combinera à un accordéon,
à de brefs sons électroniques ou à des rythmes
tribaux. Le fait que les titres soient instrumentaux soulignera, en
outre, la complexité de l’instrumentation. Tricolore est
un petit bijou de baroque enchevêtré qui ne se départit
pas d’un climat « fun » et enjoué, ceci étant
pour notre plus grand bonheur !
For Folk's Sake
to Haiku Salut themselves, the sound they make is “Baroque-Pop-Folktornic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other”.
Whatever that is, they can safely claim to be Derbyshire’s premier
exponents of it – a fact demonstrated on Tricolore, which helpfully
comes with a series of wonderful drawings in the sleeve notes to explain
where their ideas come from.
The most appropriate comparison to contemporary music I can make is
to compare Haiku Salut to Beirut, given the Baroque influences in their
music. Think of Beirut’s March of the Zapotec and you’ll
know what to expect from Haiku Salut’s integration of electronic
sounds into the music. While Tricolore is a fully instrumental vocal,
there is nothing lacking without the voice of Zach Condon. The music
is creative and interesting enough that it stands alone, without the
need for lyrics.
The second track, ‘Sounds Like There’s a Pacman Crunching
Away At Your Heart’ really illustrates the variety of sounds used
by the band. With the intro Haiku Salut have constructed a wonderful,
calming soundscape using guitars glockenspiel and piano. When the beat
is introduced it really is reminiscent of the 8-bit soundtracks of Pacman,
but these old and new sounds are fused wonderfully well.
At times those of us with folkier taste may find that the electronic
sounds overpower the live instruments a little too much, for example
in the intergalactic sounding ‘Leaf Stricken’ and the closing
track ‘No, You Say It’, however this provides a further
dimension to the album and does not diminish its musical credibility.
Tricolore is a fine achievement. Haiku Salut have combined traditional
and contemporary instruments and technology to create a fascinating
soundscape, with great textural depth and integrity. Though at times
the album is intense and a challenge to listen to, this is worthwhile
for highlights such as ‘Sounds Like There’s a Pacman Crunching
Away At Your Heart’, ‘Los Elefantes’, ‘Watanabe’
and ‘Train Tracks for Wheezy’.
Bright Young Folk
is a new album release from Derbyshire-based instrumental trio Haiku
Salut. The core group are joined for this album by accompanists The
Haiku Salut describe themselves as ’Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other’
and this is a true reflection of their sound, melding traditional instrumentals
with complex electronica and compelling rhythyms, to create rather unique
soundscapes. This is spellbinding musical wizardry, often languid and
unhurried but at times accelerating into more dynamic mode.
The opening title track is melodic, gentle and entrancing, led by piano
and horns. The Japanese-inspired Watanabe opens with rippling, cascading
piano and a delicate melody, and experiments with changes of pace and
tone in a very clever way.
The excellent Sounds Like There’s a Pacman Crunching up Your Heart
opens as pure folk, before picking up the pace and cleverly converting
the same melody into computer game electronica before finally bringing
in a driving bass beat.
In another twist, Los Elefantes mixes French accordion sounds with a
rapidly accelerating beat and rising percussion that ends with tribal
drumming effects. French sounds feature again in the accordion driven
The standout Train Tracks for Wheezy begins as a dreamy piano and accordion
duet branching later into electronica to create a result that is simply
spellbinding feelgood music.
An outstanding album, quite anything else you are likely to hear.
their English counterparts Maybeshewill, Derbyshire trio Haiku Salut
are particularly effective at playing a variation of post-rock that
knows its limits. Only one track on their debut LP, Tricolore, slips
past the five minute mark, and as a whole, the album never feels overstuffed.
What’s remarkable about that balance is how lushly orchestrated
this all is; while the cinematic quality of Tricolore is textbook post-rock,
it’s not beholden to rise-and-fall song structures or drifting
passages. The trio, who describe themselves as a “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other”
outfit, cobble together an overall tone that’s one part Sigur
Rós circa Takk…, a dash of contemporary classical piano
(see the lovely, Clint Mansell-esque “Los Elefantes”), and
a charming sense of Wes Anderson whimsy. It’s post-rock for those
who aren’t keen on sitting through Young Team or Ágætis
byrjun for the umpteenth time, and especially for those who prefer electronic
flourishes to deafening crescendos.
The purest picture of Haiku Salut’s MO comes early on, in the
form of the adorkably titled “Sounds Like there’s a Pac-Man
Crunching Away at Your Heart”. Beginning with tranquil acoustic
guitar backed by some piano tinkering, the song builds to a powerful
climax driven by ‘80s video game synthesizers, which then give
way to a wistful piano outro. If this sounds like the type of music
you would expect to be on Zooey Deschanel’s run mix, you wouldn’t
be far off. Plenty on this LP is a bit precocious for its own good.
But a strong sense of nuance and sensibility of composition is very
much alive in this trio, and this record captures a truly creative—and
still young—group that’s bound to go places from here. The
world of Tricolore is a delightful one, and like any good album of its
kind, it captures a diverse, multi-colored musical journey.
Review intro: Whether they're potentially scoring the next Wes Anderson
film or the next imagined movie in your head, Haiku Salut effectively
meld together electronic, contemporary classical, and accordion-heavy
indie into a lovely post-rock sonic.
may be one of the simplest yet one of the most complex poetic forms
out there. On paper, it’s easy enough:
All you have to do
Match your stupid syllables
See, that's all there is!
It’s not writing any old haiku that’s the issue, though:
writing something with meaning’s much trickier. Fittingly, experimental
instrumental folk-pop trio Haiku Salut’s debut, Tricolore, is
essentially a literary exercise, an attempt to play with the elements
of music and dig into the science of feeling.
Sure, that may sound unbearably stuffy, but to the band’s credit,
its debut feels more like a grab bag of trinkets than a dissertation
on the limbic system. The first treat to be found here is the sheer
variety of instruments. Haiku Salut utilizes piano, harmonica, accordion,
percussion, synths, guitar and even hints of hip-hop vocal samples,
dabbling in macabre folk in one minute before bursting into a spontaneous
nightclub party the next. The structure of the songs, too, packs in
as much as possible: each is a micro overture in its own right, with
smaller movements buried within it. It’s hard to believe the album
is only 38 minutes long when there’s so much going on, yet the
time will fly faster than most will notice.
Beyond its charmingly whimsical surface, though, Haiku Salut demonstrates
a sophisticated understanding of how the bells and whistles fit together.
Opener “Sounds Like There’s A Pacman Crunching Away At Your
Heart” is a primer for the rest of the album: it begins in an
ostensible haze, with acoustic guitar, piano and accordion circling
each other, but gradually recognizable patterns begin to show themselves.
That’s not all there is, though, as the song segues into a second
movement where the percussion initiates a gradual accelerando and chunky
8-bit synths take up the melody. The song’s climax brings the
old and the new together, where the traditional folk strains of the
first half and the more modern influences of the second dovetail: it’s
a scrapbook of a song, compiled from little snatches of diary entries
and photo booth snapshots, but it feels all the more significant for
how much depth it finds in the little trifles which make it up.
The band also has fun playing with genres, often throwing disparate
influences together to display complex emotional states. “Los
Elefantes” throws together a dark piano waltz straight off the
soundtrack for Amelie before evolving into a frisky tango: the drums
take over, pounding out tribal rhythms and letting isolation and passion
find common ground. And then there’s “Watanabe,” whose
piano patterns rise and fall in geometric swells. Yet it’s when
the band throws the formula off a bit, when the song just sputters out
for a split second before rising back up, that it discovers the humanity
in the technical. By the end, form is basically an afterthought as the
song’s rhythms slow down into a peaceful slumber, and it’s
as poignant a resolution as anything found on Tricolore.
Like any debut act, though, Haiku Salut hasn’t completely worked
out its kinks. “||: Lonesome George (Or Well, There’s No-One
Like) :||” (yeah, I don't know what that means either) has charming
elements but flies off the edge of whimsy when an awkward segue into
marching band rhythms breaks the song’s sense of cohesion. The
song also suffers from a lack of dimension, as does everything from
its incomprehensible title to the smarmy accordion melodies. For the
most part, Haiku Salut does a good job of grounding its more fantastical
aspects, but the song feels like a mishmash of influences that never
coalesce into a wholly relatable image.
In Tricolore’s second half, Haiku Salut makes a smart choice and
experiments with stripping things down to the essentials. “Six
Impossible Things” begins promisingly, with a guitar melody that’s
sparse but rich with implications. Unfortunately, the track weighs itself
down with too much instrumentation: even when the song swings into a
three-bar waltz, it all feels a bit too heavy. “Rusting Sense
of Migration” wisely takes a different route, maintaining sparse
instrumentation but layering each element to provide a sense of depth.
Finally, “Glockelbar” plays with contrasts, the measured
wheezes of the accordion and the thump of the kick drum set the song’s
underlying emotional foundation while the lighter tones of the glockenspiel
provide a foil. This trio of minimalist compositions may seem anticlimactic,
but they’re necessary groundwork for the band, and the deviation
suggests that even in its early stages, Haiku Salut is confident enough
to take time and figure itself out.
Besides, there’s a hell of a payoff to that groundwork on Tricolore’s
two final tracks. “Train Tracks For Wheezy” is a slow burner
at first. The piano and accordion tangle, the percussion rumbles in
the background, and the strings cut in every once and again; while they’re
all strong elements, nothing’s tying them together. By the time
the song’s pared itself down to accordion and glockenspiel only,
it feels like an unusually morbid note to end on—that is, before
everything finally clicks into place and the track absolutely blasts
off. The effect is positively radiant, as exciting as the moment of
liftoff in a hot air balloon. It’s easily the defining moment
of Tricolore—that is, until “No, You Say It” serves
up a jubilant reply to the cryptic album opener, recrafting the original’s
haunting glitch samples into an all-or-nothing dance-off. As it turns
out, the path from loneliness to reverie is a surprisingly short one,
and those who have been listening carefully will have known it all along.
After all, isn’t that what poetry’s all about? All we have
are the words, but there’s something in them that appeals to an
ineffable part of ourselves. They build our dreams, power our ideas,
and they make it just a little bit easier to bridge the gap from your
side of the river to mine. If you ask me, that’s quite a long
way to travel in just 38 minutes—but thankfully, we’ll always
have soundsmiths like Haiku Salut to lead the way, voyaging into the
abstract tangles of our everyday and finding something beautiful, something
colorful, something real.
a Parisian street, a pinball machine and a carousel all at the same
time, Haiku Salut’s debut album throws together pop, folk and
electronic in a dizzying rainbow of sound. Beginning with the fragmented
chimes of Say It, a sense of nostalgia seeps through each track from
underneath looping beats, leaving you quite unsure as to how this band
want you to feel. Los Elefantes is an album highlight: stripped-back,
melancholy piano is joined by an accordion, giving the track a distinctly
French feel, before descending into rippling, disjointed electronica
at the end. What can only be classed as mild dubstep beats are combined
with a ukulele on Leaf Stricken and a glockenspiel on Glockelbar, turning
the dreamlike quality of the songs into something resembling a trance.
While the overall album concept seems a bit muddled at times, the experimental
nature of Tricolore makes it unmistakably alive.
Dans Le Mur Du Son
qu'il y a de bien avec Tricolore, c'est que toute personne n'appréciant
pas l'album pourra très facilement mettre un doigt là
où ça lui a fait mal. Peut-être aura-t-il du mal
avec le côté moyennement maîtrisé de certains
instruments. Ou avec le côté enlevé, ludique, voire
même l'aspect un peu enfantin de certaines compositions. A moins
qu'il n'ait été gêné par certains des nombreux
genres abordés ici, souvent (si ce n'est tout le temps) dans
le même morceau, du twee au néo-classique, en passant par
le folktronica, la toy music, le post-rock calme et nordique ou certaines
musiques de film (hello Amélie !). Ou plutôt par le mélange
de tout ça, façon grosse glace aux 15 parfums et supplément
Et puis il y a ceux qui comme moi, auront beaucoup apprécié
le premier album des trois demoiselles d'Haiku Salut, justement pour
toutes ces raisons... Rarement une musique purement instrumentale aura
semblé si peu cérébrale, pas qu'elle n'ait pas
été longuement pensée par ses créatrices,
on sent bien au contraire que chaque note, chaque instrument, à
sa place parfaitement trouvée dans la tapisserie de 12 titres
et 35 minutes. Mais parce qu'elle parle uniquement aux sens, évoquant
aussi bien le plaisir de la fête que la tristesse et la nostalgie
('Watanabe' et ses quelques notes de piano très touchantes).
Il y a de la chaleur, de l'émotion, bref de l'humain. Et n'allez
pas imaginer qu'il s'agisse d'un de ces disques qu'on dit cinématographique,
Tricolore n'évoque aucune image et n'a nul besoin qu'on en imagine
pour être entier et faire vibrer. Il parle directement au coeur
et donne le sourire. Malgre ses faiblesses (l'abus de chantilly...)(et
Prefer Their Older Stuff
let’s bring the tone right back up with the delightful debut from
Derbyshire’s Haiku Salut. The album is all instrumental and in
places is redolent of the style of bands like Beirut, but adding electronic
touches here and there. Single Los Elephantes starts off sounding like
it could have been on a soundtrack to a Jean Pierre Jeunet film like
Amelie with it’s Francophile piano and accordion but then it morphs
into something quite different half way in. It’s a beguiling album
that feels lighter and shorter than its 37 minute run time, unlike the
previous entrant in the list this is not going to have you getting all
introspective and uneasy, this is more likely to make you want to dance
and go out in the sunshine. In fact thinking about it it is almost the
polar opposite of The Haxan Cloak!
you closely follow the little known — but still robust —
musical sub-genre of folktronica, Haiku Salut’s Tricolore will
likely be unlike anything you’ve heard before. In their full-length
debut, Haiku Salut — made up of musicians Gemma Barkerwood, Sophie
Barkerwood, and Louise Croft — explores the genre and their place
in it, and in doing so, presents us with both an exciting and playful
plethora of sounds and a feeling of potential.
The band’s major influences, including Yann Tiersen, Amestub,
and early Múm, are prevalent throughout Tricolore, as the purely
instrumental album engages various sounds and multicultural elements.
Each track features layers upon layers of instrumental dynamism: light
and playful piano parts, rhythmic and precise guitar and ukulele fingerpicking,
dense accordion arrangements, and the occasional energetic percussion.
These various parts ebb and flow across the album, sometimes peaking,
sometimes falling, and always working together to give the songs momentum
It is obvious the three musicians have amply soaked up various Western
and Eastern European musical influences, which are particularly pleasing
to an unaccustomed American ear. Moreover, Tricolore‘s incorporation
of electronic effects, including electronic instruments, looping, and
modulation, distinguishes Haiku Salut’s music from classically-composed
soundtracks or instrumental folk albums. Its satisfying machine-like
sounds, for example, whir, click, tap, and crunch, so that you can almost
feel them through your headphones. These fine details, along with the
accordion’s high notes in “Sounds Like There’s a Pacman
Crunching Away At Your Heart”, the build-ups in “Six Impossible
Things,” and the wall of sound most notably created in the beginning
and end of the album, allow Tricolore‘s content to stand out.
The challenges a band faces in composing an instrumental album —
and a genre-bending one at that — are great. Successfully conveying
emotion, consistently keeping the audience engaged, and effectively
differentiating your sound and each individual track are all pressing
concerns, to which Tricolore is not wholly immune. At some moments,
such as in “Rustic Sense of Migration,” the various instrumental
layers feel somewhat chaotic; moving without a center, they suffer in
their ability to convey real emotion or cohesive narrative. The fact
that the album’s “plot” or focus is purposefully opaque,
moreover, makes it difficult to grasp moments like these and to glean
meaning from the album’s track changes and general arc. Coupling
this obscurity with the album’s partial lack of a certain atmospheric
quality, which perhaps only comes with age, moderately holds the album
back from reaching its full potential.
That being said, potential is certainly present, sweating and beating
at the heart of Tricolore. Because of the trio’s musical abilities
as well as their adeptness with instrumentation and composition, Tricolore
manages to grab you and let you go without demanding your full attention,
so that its melodies grow on you the more you listen. Additionally,
the album has several high points that are truly emotive, such as the
chord constructions on “Glockelbar”, and that more satisfyingly
embrace and successfully incorporate the band’s electronica side,
like the explosion of big sound on “No, You Say It”. These
impressions indicate that we will have much to look forward to in Haiku
Salut’s future, and much to enjoy as we let their first full-length
Haiku Salut are three girls from Derbyshire who make “Baroque-pop-folktronic-neo-classical-something-or-other”,
and who are every bit as cute as their name implies. They’re also
the most exotic sounding band currently on indie label How Does It Feel
To Be Loved’s roster, so anyone tuning in expecting the wooly
guitars of Tigercats or Pocketbooks should be careful: Gemma, Louise
and Sophie make the kind of sparky piano-led electronica that powered
the first incarnation of Múm, and have already stirred up comparisons
to Yann Tiersen after a scene-stealing live spot at Indietracks.
One of their talking points - that the girls don’t sing - doesn’t
mean they can sound any less whimsical than their counterparts on HDIF,
and Tricolore is awash with reverie as potent as vintage Belle and Sebastian
records. Los Elefantes’ melancholy piano score sounds like the
serious bits from This Is England, and comes accompanied by a swarm
of blips and plucked, Amon Tobin-style strings. The briefer Say It is
a stripped back minute of tinkling ivories and skipping synths, while
Leaf Stricken is a beautiful glitch instrumental, the crazed beats falling
neatly in line around the piano and guitars without overpowering them,
like a bedtime version of Aphex Twin’s Boy/Girl Song.
Tricolore isn’t all music for wimps, and occasionally the bulk
of ideas put in by the girls gets to flex its muscles in full. It happens
gradually but there are moments when Tricolore becomes outright club-friendly:
the hazy accordion and banging glitch drums of Glockelbar, or II: Lonesome
George (Or Well, There’s No-One Life) :II and its hybrid circus/flamenco
music, just the job for trained animals who can operate a pair of castanets.
These tracks don’t detract from the band’s inherent sweetness,
and Sounds Like There’s A Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart
is their liveliest but cutest moment, taking a gentle accordion line
and marrying it to drum machines and Pac-Man himself, flashing in chiptune
glory while he chases away the instruments.
It’s a rousing moment on an album which sees Haiku Salut significantly
upping the tempo of the How Does It Feel canon without even uttering
a word. However precious you thought this label was, forget it - they’ve
found instrumental indie dynamite in the form of these three girls,
who are able to take a simple glockenspiel arpeggio and make it beat
like College’s Real Hero unplugged. Brimming with summery acoustic
guitars, soaring accordion and emotive glitch beats - and a glorious
firework display in the shape of pumping, Postal Service-esque closer
No, You Say It - Tricolore is a giddy haze of a debut, opening doors
to several subgenres the trio can confidently move forward in.
read more reviews of Tricolore go here
To buy "Tricolore" by Haiku Salut go here