Haikufy | Giack Bazz Album Review

8.0/10

As a response to an article on concept albums that I wrote for LDN Magazine, Giack Bazz directed me to his new concept album, Haikufy. Not only was I unprepared, but I was thrilled. The record just teeters on the border between challenging and accessible, thanks to its centring on a brilliant, poetic idea.

Initially, Haikufy could pass for an abstract prog record; the 30 songs flow into each other almost flawlessly to form a single odyssey (despite most tracks being around half a minute long). What’s intriguing is the sheer number of genres Bazz ticks off his list and the fact that at no point does he seem to be doing it for the sake of showing off his own musical intelligence.

Musical intelligence is something that Bazz has in giant bundles. Opener ‘Hikikomori’ sounds like Quiet Life era Japan, complete with Sylvianesque vocals. From the get go, there’s just so much going on that the appeal of the record is to hear what happens next. Each haiku is chopped, cut, separated and stitched together at the ends to create a linear process, but one that is wildly unpredictable; Bazz throws listeners from droning singer/songwriter melancholy to noise rock in mere seconds.

‘?’ flows into the eerie ‘Hunter’, breaking into a distorted, Radiohead-like feedback maelstrom with minimal effort, before a third song (‘Green Wish’) wraps up the mini collective in the shape of a challenging, near-punk track. It’s as brilliant as it is fatalist:

“Breathe money human 
as machines breed greyish mist 
white casket future”

The best haiku on the album by far is ‘Dust To Dust’;

“The dead birds taught us 
no matter how high we fly 
the ground awaits us” 

It doesn’t get much more hopeless than that. This looks like something that a grunge junkhead would write in a brown stupor. Whether intentional or not, Bazz seems to nod to 90s acts (although not necessarily ‘grunge’) too; ‘The Empress’ sounds like Dinosaur Jr. and J. Mascis could’ve written the haiku:

“Only beauty talks 
has a face, a bank account 
born to rule the world”

It doesn't end there. Following on from the slow, indie piece that is ‘Moon’, there’s ‘Wish Granted’, which honestly sounds like Unwound; is Bazz just going through obscure genres chronologically? This is nothing short of fucking sick. More ‘holy shit’ moments are to be had on ‘Morning Call’. Jazz? Where did that come from? Just a second ago I was listening to a twinkling harp like the calm before the storm.

There are so many comparisons to make. At the end of ‘Language’, Bazz even sounds like Joe Newman of alt-J when he croons, “Arrrrrrt”. Haikufy seems to stretch for eons, encompassing a monumental amount of concepts and ideas and then all of a sudden it’s over. I had to just go away and think for a while before I even thought about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, whatever).

The point is, Haikufy threw me off. I had it in my head that bizarre, experimental works were reserved for DIY garage bands who played shows to four people in Boston, or world musicians from Manila who weirdly have a 20,000 strong fanbase in rural Brazil (not that those folks would incorporate noise rock in their work anyway). Clearly not; Bazz is a UK music student and is practically the same age as me. Bravo. I have achieved what every music critic is supposed to achieve; I was proved wrong.