21 Oct 2014

Album Reviews: Halasan Bazar & Tara King th. "8" / Halasan Bazar "How To Be Ever Happy"

Reviewed by Nathan Ford

A few months back I hepped you to Tara King th.'s "Mostla Tara", a free download compilation of some of their best material with an intriguing new track recorded with Halasan Bazar acting as a tempting little taster for their collaborative album "8", which after a period of mounting anticipation has just been released by Moon Glyph.

Part of what makes "8" such a thrilling prospect is the sense that it shouldn't necessarily work. Denmark's Halasan Bazar certainly make music informed by the same era as that which inspires Tara King th, but that's where the sonic similarities end. However, rather than sticking to their guns, each band has yielded just enough to find a magical meeting point halfway between Halasan Bazar's scratchy psychedelic pop and Tara King th.'s widescreen cinematic vistas that allows the strengths of each band to shine harmoniously, and create a whole greater than its parts (and its parts are pretty great too).

This success can be largely credited to the decision to convene in studio in the little village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, in the Auvergne, for a truly face to face collaboration, rather than sending files backwards and forwards over the internet, as is more common (and no doubt convenient) these days. There's a sense of comradery and unified purpose on these recordings that simply can't be captured any other way.

Particularly thrilling is the way that the voices of Fredrick Rollum Eckoff and Béatrice Morel-Journel work off of each other in a time honoured beauty & the beast fashion, with Morel-Journel's dulcet Hope Sandoval tones handling the differing demands of this more lively material admirably. Similarly the Halasan Bazar instrumentalists are obviously relishing the opportunity to stretch beyond their comfort zone and increase their textural and atmospheric awareness.

Extremely successful then, and not only that, but Halasan Bazar's excellent 2012 album "How To Be Ever Happy" - originally a cassette and digital only release - is now available on vinyl from Moon Glyph too, and it's also a must-have. Fans of the Sufis and the Paperhead will appreciate the way they update the trimmings of classic psychedelia to sound thrillingly fresh without losing an ounce of vintage authenticity. And the songs have all the quirky charm of Syd or the Incredible String Band at their best, without particularly sounding like either.

So what are you waiting for?

Both albums are available on vinyl or digitally here:

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