How Does It Feel To Be Loved?



Reviews of "Tricolore" by Haiku Salut


Gemma 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 soundtrack.


Three 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.



Haiku 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.



Had 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.


Rock N Reel

Influenced 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.

The 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 home.

God Is In The TV

Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other” 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 Creatures’.

From 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.

Sounds XP

Initial 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

Haiku 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 doing.

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.


Haiku 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

It 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 as “Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other” and that’s pretty much as near to pinning this down as you can get.
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 others.

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.

The Guardian

Derbyshire 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.


Norman Records

Derbyshire 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 debut!

Music Won't Save You

Terzetto 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

Haiku 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 referencing.

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.



When 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 really lovely.

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 Digital Fix

Tricolore, 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.


Holy Moly

Our 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.

Contact Music

Haiku 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 wow.

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).


You 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.

Music OMH

How 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 the future.

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 nature.

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 hope not.

A Closer Listen

The 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

One 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.

Sly Vinyl

This 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.



AAA Music

Mixing 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

The 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 of influences.

‘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.

Rock Decibels

« 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 surprise.

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

According 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

Tricolore is a new album release from Derbyshire-based instrumental trio Haiku Salut. The core group are joined for this album by accompanists The Little Orchestra.

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 Lonesome George.

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.


Like 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.

Muzik Discovery

Haikus 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.

Left Lion

Like 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

Ce 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 chantilly.

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 d'accordéon...).

I Prefer Their Older Stuff

Ok 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!



Unless 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 and intrigue.

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 soak in.

Glass Base

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.

But 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.

To read more reviews of Tricolore go here
To buy "Tricolore" by Haiku Salut go here

HDIF site        








how does it feel to be loved? record label - home of butcher boy, the uk label for "fill up the room" by saturday looks good to me





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