I was intrigued by Haiku Salut, from the moment I saw the playful and mysterious video for Los Elefantes. The instrumental music transported me a world away from any other new indie artists – combining tremulous piano cadences with French accordion; akin to Yann Tiersen’s work on Amélie but with lively electronic beats and a sense of urgent pop underpinning. The focus being entirely on the music – and their classical musicianship and unique inventiveness that goes with it – marks them out. How many more four or five man 4-beat guitar/bass/drums bands can we take? I recently opened up two or three free music magazines on the same day to find that almost every page was adorned with men; bearded men. There was complete homogeneity in these gangs of men and their beards. It was totally dispiriting to see that any females that did feature in these widely distributed publications were afforded only tokenistic spaces. Even the blustersomely great Joy Formidable took a back-seat in the scheme of things.
In Haiku Salut we have three richly talented females, and if the world has any sense, their music- making and spirited approaches to songwriting will be celebrated from the rooftops – although, quietly, tenderly in people’s hearts is perhaps more apt.
It was wonderful to see the band live at a How Does it Feel to Be Loved? night. The night was laced with true elegance. Never have I been to such a gently wonderful gig – nor with such a prominence of violins and other interesting and undervalued instruments in alternative music. Little Orchestra were just that, and there was a nice hush at times as we all strained to attune to this new experience of silence playing its part in between grand sweeps of classical-like compositions. I feel like I was being reprimanded for daring to squeeze past people to get to the toilets at one point! The next couple of bands were a bit different – there was a squeaky dog toy at one point. With Haiku Salut, there was a sense of expectancy and thrill in the air of welcoming such a positively creative new band. Here, the glockenspiel sound was particularly welcome, and the songs tinkled with dreamy delight. The sound of video game style electronic blips and beats hurrying gladly along work so well against the stark sophistication of piano, violin, acoustic guitar, and so on. I love the variety of acoustic drums too – sometimes just a primitive tap of drumsticks across the metal top of a bass drum, or some Jesus and Mary Chain style soft mallets played standing up.
I wonder if the indie basement retreat, the Buffalo Bar, was quite the right settings for such sounds, though. There ought to have been a revered hush, and not the gaggle of chatterers filling the air, but it was a Friday night atmosphere, what with it being the night before a long bank holiday weekend. Carried away by the grandeur of the cinematic sounds, and merry liquids imbibed, I said to my friend: They should be playing the Royal Albert Hall, not this place! A bit extreme at this stage, but I do mean it that this is the kind of new alternative music I want to be elevated to great heights, and Haiku Salut really feel me with imagination and inspiration.