Describing themselves as Baroque-pop folktronic neo-classical something-or-other, Haiku Salut’s sound is indeed tricky to pin down. By fusing sparkling electronic textures with those of older instruments like the accordion, the instrumental trio create unusual soundscapes which are entirely their own. After completing a wildly futuristic project for Brighter Sound’s The Hexagon Experiment series, the trio are concentrating on touring once again, and plan to bring their unique Lamp Show to Manchester’s The Deaf Institute on the 27 September.
After an introductory EP, the Derbyshire trio released their debut album Tricolore in 2013. The record shimmered with a charming, child-like naivety, with many of its tracks featuring xylophones and glockenspiels, as well as accordion, guitar and piano. In places, the trio paired this instrumentation with skittering, glitchy electronica, which makes for an unusual but charming combination. If given a little more weight, many of these tracks sound like they could find a home on Four Tet’s album Rounds. Their second album Etch and Etch Deep was a lovely development, with the trio’s previously light touches of electronica getting just a little heavier, and with the production growing in warmth.
When making this record, Haiku Salut say they were influenced by the impressionistic writing of Japanese author Haruki Murakami, which makes a lot of sense. A magical realist storyteller, Murakami’s writing not only resembles dreams, but it makes us feel like we’re the ones dreaming it all. At their best, Haiku Salut achieve a similar effect with their music. Their enchanting soundscapes can easily carry you down a strange, far-away path which, if you follow it long enough, feels like your own. There is a space in tracks like ‘Hearts Not Parts’ from their latest album which feel like yours to explore.
In terms of playing live, the band have become known for their innovative ‘Lamp Shows’, in which a stageful of vintage lamps flash, flicker and fade in synchrony with their music. Building on this idea of converting sound into light, the lead single ‘Cold To Crack The Stones’ from their forthcoming album There is No Elsewhere, features a manipulation of NASA recordings of the pulses emitting by lightning. So light has been turned into sound which, at The Deaf Institute later this month, will be converted back to light, as the trio’s lamps dance in time to their new music. Intrigued? See you there.