Etch and Etch Deep - 31 July - How Does It Feel To Be Loved
When Haiku Salut released their debut album, Tricolore, in 2013, the trio of Gemma, Louise and Sophie referred to themselves as a “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other”. It was a typically idiosyncratic way of describing their knack of combining joyous folk, intricate electronica and spellbinding neo-classical, one that saw them compared to everyone from Beirut and múm to Sigur Ros and Aphex Twin. The album received four star reviews in The Guardian, Uncut, Mojo and many more, and trio won the Green Man Rising contest, opening the main stage at that year’s Green Man festival.
Two years later, the “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other” tag no longer quite fits. While Tricolore was the sound of a young band working through their influences, Etch And Etch Deep finds the trio melting those influences to create a sound without joins and without hyphens. It’s both inventive and inquisitive, at times more boldly pop, at others startlingly impressionistic.
It’s also – curiously for a group whose instrumental songs are most commonly referred to as music for an imaginary soundtrack – an album looking for new ways to communicate. Over the last two years, the trio have experimented with visual elements (their magical lamp show in which a stageful of vintage lamps are programmed to flash, fade and flicker in time to the music), and literary ones (the band published their debut book of haikus, “Japanese Poems Steal Brains” in 2014), and this artistic curiosity sparks through the entire album, from the soaring, wordless vocal of “Hearts Not Parts” to the way in “The No-Colour Of Rain Or Dust”, the notes seem to bend and jump, like fireflies living inside the song.
“We went to Norway for a show last year where everything was a little overwhelming and humbling,” says Sophie. “I think it was the mountains that did that. The people that lived in the tiny village had a huge respect for the landscape, weather and nature that we had never really considered. It changed how I viewed the world and the questionable feeling of coping that came along with that. The album title refers to that. There is nobody controlling your future, you take responsibility for yourself. You make your own meaning.”
So what’s this music called now? Post folk? Dream pop? Neo-everything? How do you label a song that glides from uplifting folk pop to unsettling minimalism to what sounds like drum’n’bass played on a glockenspiel? Do you bother looking for answers or remain, as one of the songs puts it, in a state of “Becauselessness”? One thing’s for sure – if Tricolore was an accomplished start, then this is Haiku Salut making good on that promise, blossoming into something very special indeed.
Praise for Etch and Etch Deep:
"an album that seduces as readily as it challenges" - Mojo 4*s
“both warmly familiar and completely, fearlessly new” - Uncut
“vividly coloured sonic canvas” - Popmatters
"exploring electronica, with deep synth tones, crunching glitch and flickers of drum'n'bass." - NME 8/10
"the album Four Tet might have made after Rounds." - The Observer 4*s
"distinctly old-fashioned sounds rubbing shoulders with electronics to create something that sounds not so much timeless as separated from modernity." The Guardian 4*s
Praise for Tricolore:
“Haiku Salut are a singular musical force” – Phil Alexander, Mojo
"Spellbinding folktronica from the edge of the Peak District. If Sigur Ros shared a cottage in Dovedale, they might just sound as magical as this." – Uncut
“Haiku Salut’s elegant weaving of minimalist electro tones around warm, somewhat folk-like arrangements – continental of feel, but very British of build – possesses that impossible-to-define X factor. It impresses immediately, and repeated plays simply reinforce that initial admiration. The sense of something special manifests with ease.” – Clash
"Melodicas and cheap electronics nestle alongside acoustic guitars and horns, odd pairings of style abound but they work, creating a fresh, summery whole" - The Guardian