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Halou


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Ethereal ectronica/altpop

Status:

Final release under this name, Halou (digital only, 2008)

See also:

Halou's site

Current incarnation Stripmall Architecture: facebook site and Bandcamp site

Comparisons:

A cross between the drum n' bass sonic landscape of Lamb and the languorous ethereal vocals of the Cocteau Twins. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

Covers/own material:

Own; occasional covers

General comments:

"Electronic subsonic gifts from above," coos the chanteuse of this duo, and she's right. A cross between the drum n' bass sonic landscape of Lamb and the languorous ethereal vocals of the Cocteau Twins, this San Francisco-based husband and wife team come up with a unique take on familiar territory. The rhythm-based music has lots of silence and space to it. They eschew the jazz timbres of Lamb for more atmospheric terrain—slowly floating synths, echoed Heart-beat of God sound effects, multi-tracked vocals. The real surprise in this is the creepy undertone running through the pieces. Rebecca writes simple lyrics about uncommon subjects. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

This is definitely more electronic & lively than most bands on their first label, the now-defunct Bedazzled Records (home of An April March, Siddal, etc). Catchy stuff, along the new wave of electronica lines. I find their sound irresistible. Very very tasty! (Neile)

Halou hails from S.F. and had an early disk on Bedazzled Records. They're kinda in the same sphere as Portisthead and Lamb. Guy treats and plays instruments and the gal sings. They are a husband and wife team too. Fun stuff. (jmgurley@drizzle.com)

Comments about live performance:

When we saw Halou live they were mighty fine. I had started the night cranky and tired, and until Halou started to play I wondered why on earth I was putting myself through the agony of a late night smokey scene-ster club show. But the moment they started I remembered why.
     Halou has that rare and wonderful knack of writing memorable songs, doing interesting atmospheric background stuff (which actually I couldn't hear too well last night due to the crowd noise and noise from the band in the upstairs restaurant), and having a creative and good lead singer (whom happily I could hear well). She was also good on stage—dramatic, without being over the top. And it was great to see a singer not wearing jeans—she was in a floor-length, black taffeta strapless evening gown with elbow-length gloves. That was fun, and it was a fascinating show. See them if they come to your town. (10/01, Neile)

Recommended first album:

wiser is the easiest to find but they're all good

Recordings:


[we only love you]

Release info:

1998—Bedazzled Records—0363-50039-2; re-released by the band as a CD-R

Availability:

Original edition out of print; see website to order CD-R version

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for ectronica fans

Group members:

r/r coseboom

Produced by:

r/r coseboom with mikael eldridge

Comments:

The wonderful "Loop in Blue" shows concern for a friend in trouble, while "Present Tense" describes a woman's descent into alienation and depression. These themes coalesce in the sentiment expressed by the title track, where an eerie groupthink/meshing of machine and music are bought together with the blank, zoned out repetition of the phrase "you are one of us/we only love you." There's a chilling, Blade Runner current underneath the delicacy. Excellent! (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

This album comes very close to being one of my favourites of 1999 (the year we discovered it). It's ethereal and edgy—a wonderful combination. (Neile)


Sans Soucie

Release info:

1999—Bedazzled discs—singles club 3; re-released as a CD-R by the band in another edition

Availability:

Original edition limited to 300 copies and out of print; see website to order CD-R version

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

>r/r coseboom

Produced by:

>r/r coseboom

Comments:

The band says: "this is not a new halou record. we wanted to tie together all the recordings that originated during the we only love you sessions and create something of a companion to the album." The CD-R version substitutes "It Was Safer (P'Taah Remix)" for "i'll carry you (edit)" but the track listing is otherwise the same as the Bedazzled singles club edition.

There is one new track, "That Blue Eyed Smile Girl" which was available only on a Bedazzled sampler, plus demos and remixes of songs from we only love you, a Cocteau Twins cover and a Low cover, and three songs from the band they were previously, anymore. An interesting document to place beside their other work—more b-sides than essentials, but it shows a little of the band crafting their sound. (jmgurley@drizzle.com)


newhalou (CDR ep)

Release info:

1999—self-released

Availability:

Limited edition—information on their website

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans

Group members:

r/r coseboom

Comments:

This consists of a cover of Cocteau Twins' "half-gifts", two demos, a remix from [we only love you], and a cover of Low's "Words". Highly recommended for any fans of ectronica. They say that this isn't an indication of what they are working on now, but it certainly makes me curious. (Neile)

Wiser

Release info:

2001—Nettwerk Productions (U.S.)—0 6700 30234-2

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rebecca Coseboom
Ryan Coseboom
Mikael Eldridge

Guest artists:

Elizabeth Roberts—cello
Greg Kehret—double bass
Daniel Ellis-Green—guitar loop on 1 track
Ryan Hicks—guitar loop on 1 track

Produced by:

Halou

Comments:

If it's possible, this is an even better album than their debut (though it repeats a couple of tracks from it). The new songs are layered in interesting ways but also catchy and the vocals are hauntingly urgent. You'll find these songs in your head at unexpected times in a powerful way. Highly recommended for anyone who likes creative electronica or intriguing female vocals, or, especially, both together. (Neile)

It's a good portrait of where they are now, including old and new material. They manage to transcend their Lamb/Portishead influences, creating something that reflects their willingness to craft symphonic beats—to make that whole drum 'n' bass thing atmospheric and orchestral at the same time, and to embue it with emotion. (jmgurley@drizzle.com)

If you can't wait for new Lamb cd to migrate to the states, Halou's new one should be good for what ails ya. Electronic, sample-happy music, with nods to torch, pop, Saint Etienne, Everything But the Girl and Massive Attack. The singer Rebecca has a gorgeous voice, and while her lyrics aren't groundbreaking, her dramatic delivery of them is arresting. When she sings, I hear Liz Fraser, Sarah Cracknell, and even Sinéad O'Connor. Ryan's backdrop is rich and varied—jazz, fuzz-guitar, strings appear in the background, but he doesn't upstage his wife's voice. I agree with Neile and Jim—high priority for folks into "femme-tronica". (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)


wholeness ep

Release info:

2003—vertebrae music productions

Availability:

See website

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rebecca and Ryan Coseboom

Comments:

A 6-song taste of Halou's next step (well, one is a remix of "wiser" from the previous album). Wonderful, tasty, noisy, inventive, and of course featuring Rebecca Coseboom's lovely vocals. More, please. (Neile)

Wholeness & Separation

Release info:

2006—Vertebrae Productions

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Rebecca Coseboom
Ryan Coseboom
Count

Guest artists:

Greg Kehret—bass
Elizabeth Roberts—cello
Toby Pipes—additional guitars
Todd Pipes—additional bass & guitars

Produced by:

Halou

Comments:

Halou makes sexy and chic haute couture music. The metallic sheen of the electronics contrasts nicely with the serrated fuzz guitar and the satiny orchestrations of synth and cello. The songs aren't always immediately hummable, but they are arrestingly complex. The singer, Rebecca Coseboom, has a pure, pliable soprano that is given various sonic treatments, from static to echoes that adds texture to her vocal lines. Her singing is so precise and mannered that she can seem frostily aloof. This dramatically contrasts with her lyrics, which are surprisingly down-to-earth. Character sketches ("Everything is OK") and well-worn advice (perhaps to herself) are her major subject matter, along with clever love songs ("The Ratio of Freckles to Stars"). Various songs remind one of St. Etienne, Lamb, and Portishead, and yet I hesitate to call Wholeness & Separation trip-hop. The radiant maturity that suffused the work simply transcends genre definitions. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)

The Separation ep

Release info:

2006

Availability:

See website

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Halou fans

Comments:

This is a limited edition 5-track CDR ep with hand-made packaging and minimal information. It's a nice addition to the Wholeness & Separation album. (Neile)

Albatross ep

Release info:

2006--itunes

Availability:

iTunes only

Ecto priority:

Recommended only for Halou fans

Comments:

Loose-sounding to me and mostly for fans. I love their albums, but this doesn't feel essential to me. (Neile)

Further info:

Rebecca and Ryan Coseboom have released several albums as a side project. See Halou's site for more information and to order.

Email cosboom@pacbell.net


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2014-03-02 02:10:34.
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