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Haiku Salut – Tricolore

Beki Kidwell


Whether you think of them as a folk-electronic threesome or an alt-pop mini orchestra, Haiku Salut are not a band easily forgotten once you’ve heard the opening notes. Tricolore is the first album from this lovely lot, with each song not accompanied by what you’d expect to be elusive, pixie like vocals – The album is unlike anything I’ve heard, except perhaps Yann Tiersen live at Green Man Festival in 2012.

The Amelie soundtrack this album is not, yet the likeness is effortlessly detected. Each song opens with a different instrument – with short opening track Say It focussing predominantly on the xylophone and following track Sounds Like There’s a Pacman Crunching Away At Your Heart enlisting a beautiful acoustic guitar and accordion ensemble with a flicker of piano, just to break your heart into a few tiny pieces.

Though don’t be fooled; these girls are not to be reckoned with in today’s modernised, EDM world full of synth-obsessed teenagers. A minute into the second track, the ‘pacman’ melody kicks in with a force that overrides the subtlety of earlier harmonies. The track is one to listen to in the dying sun with a drink in hand and good company.

Los Elefantes really strikes at their French inspirations, while diving further into an eclectic mix of World music and synth-pop. The repetitive beat resembles something you’d be likely to hear on one of the BBC’s ‘what’s hot’ radio skits. It’s an acquired taste.

Further down the list, Watanabe, Train Tracks for Wheezy and Six Impossible Things grasp beautiful, hypnotic tunes with melodies encasing a sadness – the first and last hints of melancholy throughout the album – that I relate to, as any normal human would.

The album would definitely work as a soundtrack, as Tricolore appears to emit a story that can vary for each listener. This is reinforced through the short, sharp Haiku Interlude #1, where you’re led to the next scene as in any perfectly timed film directed by Michel Gondry. The album’s fusion of old and new, the mind-boggling interaction between electronic sounds and the natural tune of a hand-held instrument proves to take the listener on a really quite extraordinary trip.

Concluding song No, You Say It ends Tricolore with a reply to the opening track in terms of grammar and tune. The song carries on from the first as if it had never escaped to any other part of the album. It leaves you questioning if you ever truly did hear anything but one, very long and skilfully generated song.

Their music has the effect you’d expect from a yoga-induced whale song session or a tape of heavy, falling rain – your imagination goes wild, while your body relaxes into nothingness. And in the final moments of Tricolore, one is left excited and awestruck by the prospect of what Haiku Salut will deliver next.

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