Enhanced CD, Parametric, 2004
Haïku’s debut album “Synthese” was the first in of a new line of releases by French experimental electronica label Parametric featuring new artists. Influenced by the contents of Parametric’s compilation “Q:F:G” (in which Haïku was also featured) which I had bought months before, I decided to take some chances on this album. And I can’t say that I regret it, quite the opposite.
At least in “Synthese”, the electronica project Haïku appears to have a lot in common with its poetic namesake: simplicity, elegance and a sense of meditative introspection, in search for the essence of things. Even the tracks have no name, being simply identified by their numbers.
Beat-driven and rhythm based, “Synthese” is nevertheless extremely Zen-like in most aspects and definitely a contemplation-inducing album. These characteristics remain constant throughout the album, even in the faster and apparently more aggressive tracks. There is also a sort of formality and ritual precision to the musical compositions presented as if the music is milimetrically crafted according to some long unspoken tradition. In a way, this is very reminiscent of Japanese musical tradition, with some comparisons to Japanese Imperial court music coming to mind.
In addition, the disc also features multimedia tracks with videos and additional music tracks. An interesting bonus but one which caused me some problems as the tracks didn’t work properly to achieve what (I suppose) was the ultimate audio/visual effect, this despite having all the latest Quicktime plugins. Nevertheless, one can watch the video. It is a very interesting piece of work. Compositions of scanning electron microscopy imagery are melded with Haïku’s meditative sounds, taking the listener on a journey to the inner self.
Even though not considering packaging to be an important part of a CD, in this case, the packaging and overall design prove to be more than adequate. Like the musical contents, everything is kept extremely simple. A tin, no booklet and a minimum of printing (on the CD and the sticker label on the tin): just the essential. Very adequate.
— Miguel de Sousa