EPs / Singles
Haiku Salut / Hopeless Local Marching Band:
This split EP from the upstart UK Nottingham-based label Wild Combination Recordings pairs two tracks apiece from Haiku Salut, a Derbyshire-based instrumental trio, and Hopeless Local Marching Band, the one-man band project of Kentaro Togawa, a name familiar to textura readers for his work as The Retail Sectors and as head of Symbolic Interaction. The release is nicely sequenced in alternating between the two artists' tracks.
Don't let the lame pun in Haiku Salut's opening track title turn you off as “If It's Not Baroque (Don't Fix It)” makes for a very pleasing entry-point for the half-hour release. Pretty and melodic, the song invites comparison to early Múm in its march-like wedding of piano, strings, and tiny electronic noisemaking and especially in the glistening music box-like episode that emerges halfway through the song. The trio's second contribution to the EP, “Maybe I Can't Fix Myself,” is as much of a charmer as the first and is, frankly, even more Múm-like in its sound design—not that that's necessarily a bad thing when Haiku Salut's material offers such pleasure to the ears.
The first Hopeless Local Marching Band piece, “Sleepwalkers Night,” is a prototypically enticing setting from the Japan-based Togawa. Powered by a breezy drum pattern, the tune gleefully saunters forth with carefree, sing-song melodies floating buoyantly o'ertop the fleet-footed pulse. With a warm organ as background texture, synthetic strings and chiming electric guitars take their places at the front line. At fifteen minutes, “Paradoxial Insomnia” constitutes half the EP's total but more than justifies its length. Clearly the darker of the two Hopeless Local Marching Band pieces, the track picks up steam when an aggressive beat pattern appears three minutes along to push its scratchy electronic whirrs and phase-treated guitar picking to the next level. Things escalate gradually from then on, with Togawa rapidly segueing between a number of jaunty and grandiose, string-inflected episodes before the wail of a crushing climax roars in just past the thirteen-minute mark. You definitely come away from the release feeling like your time's been well-spent and you've got your money's worth.