“Baroque-Pop-Folktronic-Neo-Classical-Something-Or-Other,” huh? Yeah, I suppose once I get to the squeezebox sea-shanty that pops up in “Bleak and Beautiful (All Things)” I can roll with that. And it’s just the start of a whole set of charming sounds that wander into Etch and Etch Deep from trio Haiku Salut. Chimes and warbly electronics mix with thumping beats and little frenzies of glitch, all to support the warmth of the acoustic instruments at the core of it all. The words that jump to front-of-mind here are fun and nice, along with I think I’ll listen to that again.Every track here is rock-solid and has something new to offer. That accordion sound, matched with a drumbeat that falls somewhere between military and D&B outtakes, creates the mix of power and pause on “Skip to the End.” “The No-Colour of Rain and Dust,” one of my favorite tracks, opens as a thoughtful solo piano piece. Light taps of glitch snap in as accompaniment. It reaches a bridge, and then beautifully oscillating synth tones come in to play. The shift in tones has a very hands-on-knob feel to it; it honestly feels like an immediate response to where the piano goes. This is the one that hooked me for good. “Hearts Not Parts”* is a massive dose of feel-good. It charges in on drums and a pulsing accordion line—or is that a harmonica? I don’t care, I love it! Wordless, cooing vocals lace their way through. I confess to having done a bit of chair-dancing when this comes on. Give it 90 seconds or so and you’ll be treated to a nice drop where the three work in small moments with small sounds, and give the space great texture and detail, You know the other side of the drop is coming, the part where it cranks back up, and when it hits, it’s rewarding. And in case it sounds a bit light on power, the vicious drumming that closes out “Things Were Happening And They Were Strange” covers that, too.
There’s a crazy amount of stuff to love on Etch and Etch Deep. The trio, who I can only find reference to as “Louise, Gemma, and Sophie,” have an incredible chemistry, a love of musical play, and crazy talent. And I don’t do this often, but in trying to learn more about them I came across this video of a cut from their live show where they have 20 vintage lamps rigged to turn on and off, flicker and fade according to the music. It’s not that they have a light show that impresses me; it’s the light sources themselves. I am now jealous of people who’ve gotten to see this live. I’m in love with Etch and Etch Deep. It’s an amazing set of electro-acoustic pieces with the focus on the acoustic and a solid grounding in electronics. Give it some extra volume, fire it up, and don’t be afraid to chair dance. I think Louise, Gemma, and Sophie would prefer it that way.
Available from Bandcamp.