The General

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Commissioned as an accompaniment for a special screening of the classic Buster Keaton silent film The General, Haiku Salut’s soundtrack manages to be both wistful and dramatic, much like its inspiration.

Originally commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary, the Derby based multi-instrumentalists where given a scant 3 months to deliver the music before the premiere performance in January 2019. The results don’t suffer at all from this enforced haste, with the album not only working perfectly as a soundtrack for the film, but also as a stand alone album in its own right, easily on a par with Haiku Salut’s* previous albums.

Working with a reduced musical palette centred around piano and synthesizer, the band has crafted a work that mixes traditional instrumentation with electronica and glitch.

The only piece on the album that sounds anything like traditional silent movie music is “Enlist”, which starts out as a melancholy minor key piano melody, before other forlorn textures gradually creep in to underscore the feeling of disillusion.

Train Steal” on the other hand has an almost contemporary feel, all warm analogue synthwave building to a pounding glitchy drum finale. “Cannon” mixes frenetically propulsive percussion with subtly shifting pads, while “Loves” is mournfully affecting in its gentle post-rock waltz.

The full version of The General can be seen on YouTube, unfortunately with a fairly generic accompaniment. You can always mute YouTube and try to match Haiku Salut’s soundtrack up with the pictures. Or switch off YouTube altogether and get lost in the world that the band so skilfully creates.

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