Haq are :
N-qia : Nozomi (vocals) & Takma (keyboards/programming) from Tokyo, Japan &...
Harold Nono (guitars/keyboards/programming) of Edinburgh, Scotland
Haq - "Nocturnals" (BS020 - 2013)
Released on the independent Scotish label Bearsuit Records, Nocturnals is one of those rare albums that mixes extreme experimentation with pop beauty and actually works.
Haq is a collaboration between Tokyo based duo, N-qia: Nozomi (vocal) & Takma (keyboards & programming) and Edinburgh based musician, Harold Nono (guitars, keyboards & programming). These cross-culture references feed into every fibre of this album. Think My Bloody Valentine, Fuck Buttons, with a dose of Team Brick thrown in and you can get a little bit of an idea of where this album sits.
All the way through Nocturnals, Nozomis’ vocals are the anchor that holds the whole thing together. Thoroughly beautiful as it glides through tracks such as Zuyder and Retrospect, the voice is the central focus for a listener to hold on through as Takma and Nono go off into whatever direction they fancy (this can change within seconds on each individual tracks).
The album is full of unexpected twists and turns and is heavily layered, but in the end, is does have a very pastoral/folk music feel. This is folk music like the Richard D James album is folk, and you’d love to imagine Syd Barrett making this kind of music.
One of the many highlights of the album is the track Sleeper. Underneath the obligatory gorgeous vocal lies a pure Hyperdub rhythm, which if listened to closely enough, resembles the early days of Dubstep. I won’t tell you what happens fifty odd seconds in as it really is a remarkable moment in an album full of them.
However, albums like this do not warrant a track by track review as the whole thing is a complete piece. It washes over you (if you want it to), it disturbs you, it excites you, it disobeys you. On the aforementioned Retrospect there is even a sample of a child talking and singing whilst playing in the bath which on one hand is pure beauty and on the other incredibly unsettling in a Hammer Horror sense.
A gorgeous album, and one whose timing could not be better. This is a perfect spring record. Some sun, some rain, some flowering, some cold spells.
A must listen.
All words by Simon Tucker
Louder than War (05.03.13)
haq - "nocturnals" (BS020 - 2013)
Think I might be right in saying that we have a handful of bearsuit releases currently lurking around awaiting closer attention, heading the pile and falling headlong into our affections is a new collaborative set that pairs the talents of Harold Nono with N-qia who under the collective nom de plume Haq have hatched the simply immaculate ’nocturnal’. with ghost like delight this twelve track set is tenderly and sublimely seduced to a landscape that’s glitch glowed and immersed in an after lights out cool sophistication.
Delicately applying elements of early / mid 90’s Bristol and Birmingham down tempo / electronica scenes, Haq hardwire to their spectral tapestry enchanting folk corteges - as on the ghostly siren-esque ‘lifted’ - that swap love notes with sepia twisted torch trims upon which are moulded and sculptured an array of rustling beats and lo-fi electronica. Unworldly and deeply absorbing, the sound of Haq is both bewitching and beguiled, like a secret hideaway accidentally stumbled upon they don’t take kindly to the hustle and bustle of day time preferring instead a hushed setting shadow lined and stilled. In terms of reference markers perhaps smile down upon us which brought to wider acclaim the enviable talents of moomlooo courtesy of the esteemed static caravan imprint comes close to veering into haq’s eclectic and mysterious noir scratched orbit. Not least is this the case than on the shy eyed frost framed beauty that is ‘jikan ga nai’. Somewhere else the dinked dizziness of the dreamily demurred ‘retrospect’ tunes itself into the frequency of the much missed l’augmentation those preferring matters more lulling and lullaby-esque will do well to explore the seductive ambient textures of ‘poison tree’ which had we not known better we’d have hazarded a guess was the fruition of some studio face down between a Debussy enthralled art of noise and Discordia while the lounge lilted and hazy ’the birds are eating the sun’ seems to occupy a wigged out early 70’s pan European horror sound tracking more commonly associated with Komeda and Korzynski. The same brushstrokes apply to the high wired tension stricken ’sleeper’ where the monastic trimmings opine to a fragmenting dream sequence recalling the frazzled psychosis of a ’suspiria’ era Goblin.
The sets centre forming moments come by way of the adorable ‘bees in my feet’ and ‘riverend’ of which the former mentioned is here gloriously serviced by the succulent stroke of a light fading musetta like moodism sleekly shifts out of focus amid a delirious cortege presaged in dream states that recall a forlorn Broadcast being sympathetically cuddled by Komeda. ‘riverend’ on the other hand comes courted to the sugared rush of classically tutored string symphonics all steeled with an ethereal soft tread that endows it with a deceptively demurred dream casting as it swoons, woos and wanders amid the low lit shoegazed environs to aurally imagine a heavenly blissed out this mortal coil being reframed by a lo-fi glitch geared Goldfrapp. Disturbingly beautiful all said.
The Sunday Experience (14.2.13)
Their debut album "nocturnals" (BS020) was released on Bearsuit Records in February 2013