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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Haiku Salut introduce the new video for Train Tracks For Wheezy, from album Tricolore

An enigmatic steam ride through the Canadian rockies accompanies the latest track to be released from current album Tricolore. Beautifully illustrated and explained.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Haiku Salut by George Morton

Haiku Salut by George Morton*

Baroque post pop girl band Haiku Salut release an eerily beautiful video to accompany ‘Train Tracks For Wheezy‘ from the Tricolore album on the How Does It Feel To Be Loved? label. The video features the band’s music set to a homemade film of a steam train ride through the Canadian rockies, shot in 1926. Ian from the record label explains how the video to accompany the track came about…

When we released the Haiku Salut album last year, some of the reviews declared that the band compose music for an imaginary soundtrack. “Quite what the film itself is all about,” said Mojo, “is entirely down to you.” For the video for Train Tracks For Wheezy, we decided to let fate do the screenwriting for us. We typed “steam train video youtube” into Google, and then searched for a film that was roughly the same length as the song. Up they sprang, our hopeful contenders: the Stradbally steam railway in Ireland, the Shibanxi railway in China, the Steamrail snow train in Australia, the list went on. All shot lovingly in glorious technicolour, but none of them quite right.

Then we found something very different. Shot in 1926, this black and white home movie of tourists on a Canadian Pacific steam train felt like a ghostlike transmission from another era – it flickered like the old silent movies of the time, pulsed as the almost 90-year-old film surrendered to being digitised for the modern world. And there was no music, no sound at all, just an eerie flow of images – images that felt all the more otherworldly for being of something so everyday. Tourists on a train gazing at the snowy Canadian mountains. A snippet of a life and lives long gone.

Rockies by Will Long

Rockies by Will Long. ‘When I watched the video I was thinking about the diminutive status of humans in relation to nature, in particular, to these mountain ranges and forests. I like it that way around. So I think that probably made its way into my work subconsciously.

When we laid the music over the film, it felt like something clicked. Not only were the visuals and the music a perfect match – the twinkling electronics and soaring orchestration following the course of the train journey – but there were also some lovely moments of synchronicity. The accordion coming in just as the mountains were shown for the first time. The metronome starting as the journey picked up pace. A billow of steam bursting from the train as the song reaches its crescendo. And there were fifteen seconds of footage left at the end of the song, which we let run out without accompaniment – as if the time travel was over and the film was back in 1926.

It was all so perfect we were almost scared to write asking for permission to use the footage, in case we were given a polite no, and this new, suddenly complete, film would never get to see the light of day. Thankfully, Reel Nostalgia gave the go ahead – and do check out their other films on youtube – and our imaginary movie came to life.

haiku salut

Haiku Salut play two live shows next month. On Saturday February 1st, they play inside the 3D Gravity Exhibition at Quad in Derby. On Friday February 21st, they play Kings Place in London, with support from Ed Dowie. More info on the Kings Place show here. Read our full interview with the band and a review of Tricolore here.

*George Morton explains the inspiration behind the Haiku Salut illustration that opens this blog: What I loved about the music and video was the contrast of new and old, and how they suited each other so well despite being created centuries apart. I wanted to convey this in my illustration so I combined pencil drawing with more bold, modern shapes and colours. Also I liked the idea of nature meeting industrial man-made objects like trains which is why in my illustration the mountains are being held up by a very man-made looking platform.

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