The Not So Silent World … My grandmother who never spoke a word of English, used to tell me that someone who spoke two languages was worth two people. So now I can understand why Flow, the newest release by Haiku, which has vivid color and delicate symmetry throughout his seven track ambient album, is so captivating. He is a terrific paint artist as well as a gifted composer. The combination of music and art somehow meld together here to produce an eloquently simple album of gorgeous atmospheres and lush soundscapes. Haiku is the name taken by Danish artist Henrik Hytteballe who is an admirer of the simple, but beautiful form of Japanese poetry. The album features fluid textures and colorful collages of synth orchestra, inorganic voices, and ambient elementals. Hytteballe was an 80’s rocker and made a career on the concert scene, but a life altering change occurred and he literally changed his tune. The results are exemplary.
If there be a mythical place that I would want to be, then let it be Atlantis. I am a believer and Haiku has provided the soundscape for a visit to this paradise. The swaying melody is created by what I imagine are muted horns, but for some reason I get the impression that the music has color. Soft pastels of gold, green, and mauve intertwine to build this dream world. It is all very calming.
The song “Eternity” is active and alive. It has the sounds of life inside. The voices suggest tranquility, almost the equivalent of candle light versus sun light. If time is passing during this melody that I am unaware. Like the album title implies, there is a wondrous “flow” to this endless stream of music.
I could not help but be immersed in the tune “Crystal Bath.” It was clear, yet luminous. There were reflections and refractions of pure energy. Once again, I could perceive the musical color that Haiku uses, patches of light here, pale colors there, all swirling in a transparent eddy of sound.
Synthesized washes are abandoned for the tune “Vision.” Instead, distinctive electronic piano becomes the lead in a very serene song. The melody is slow compared to others on the album, but it still represents the title. “Vision” is without a doubt multi-faceted and complex. There is what you might see and what you imagine. It may be real or not. The music is like the soundtrack for the exploratory process. Let us see what we can see.
If ever there was a sound scheme to allow the psyche to drift, carefree and without physical tethers, then it is the song, “Floating.” I imagined myself stepping up into the invisible otherworld, trusting it to hold me up. I laid back spread eagle and went with the cosmic flow. I became not fearful, but felt as if I were surrendering to the experience. This is a simple tune, but the impression was very intricate.
The piano returns with the track “Voyage.” The song is one of the longest cuts at over twelve minutes and it is my favorite. Although I have traveled quite a bit in country, I still yearn to journey beyond my present borders. Those borders are not found on any paper map, nor electronic atlas, but lie within me. Each note struck in Haiku’s song was a step forward, the path became clear, and the journey continued.
The final track is called “To Jorn.” It is somewhat different from the other tunes having a more pronounced melody. The piano is strong here with the accompaniment of other elements more subdued. The title implies to me that this is a personal undertaking, something made important by friendship or familiarity. I have to admit that the song is rather sad, but not a dirge or a lament. More like reverent and I liked it for that.
I believe Flow is Haiku’s fifth venture into musical atmospherics and it is a remarkable endeavor. All seven tracks, if you give them attention, allow you to disconnect from the burden of daily life and relax for a moment or two. It is surpasses any panacea you can buy. As a last gesture of thankfulness for music that touched me deeply, I risk the following:
Warm, quiet soundscapes
Arrive in my ev‘ryday
Calming my spirit
Rating: Very Good+