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Reviewed by:
  • Halou: Wholeness E.P.
  • Mark Wagy
Halou: Wholeness E.P. Compact disc, 2002; available from Vertebrae Music Productions, 26 Massasoit, San Francisco 94110, USA; electronic mail; Web

Halou hails from San Francisco, a city where electronic music acts prosper and proliferate without bound, and Halou has distinguished itself as a group that stands out in the crowd. The group started as a duo, the now-married couple Ryan and Rebecca Coseboom, and has expanded to three with the recent addition of experienced producer, Count, who has proven an integral part of Halou's evolving sound.

The Wholeness E.P. is a richly textured exploration of emotion and melody that boasts exceptional production quality and depth of sound. The E.P. opens with the emotionally charged everything is ok, one of those songs that sticks to your brain until you listen to it again. Rebecca Cosebloom's ascerbic voice is backed by rhythmic flutters and deep, pounding bass drums. The second track, ingenue, utilizes Halou's session-musician ammunition with lush cello and pristine guitar to calm down the momentum of the first track, making way for the chillout tune, the ratio of freckles to stars, for which the group has already made a video. The beat picks up the pace with the riveting title-track, wholeness, which smartly blends acoustic guitars with a strong snare beat, the backbone of the song, making way for some light distortion on the vocals that direct the song with their intensity. The E.P. is put to rest with the ambient anthems, wiser (different), and firefly, spiraling the disc down [End Page 96] from its energetic peak. It is not surprising that Halou is developing a following that is no longer limited to the San Francisco area: the group's talents at songwriting and production are well-honed and the live shows get rave reviews without exception.

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Halou's sound captures a growing trend toward "producer pop" that artists such as Portishead and Björk have brought to the mainstream. The group is rich with musical talent that is carried by the vocals of Rebecca Cosebloom, and technical prowess in production that involves both processing acoustic instruments to an unrecognizable degree and using TDM and Native Instruments plug-in instruments to give sonic substance to the songs. Despite Halou's talent as songwriters and producers, they lack the originality that their peers have developed, but, being a relatively new act, they still have time. The Wholeness E.P. is a taste of what is to come on Halou's upcoming third full-length release that hopefully takes steps toward claiming an individual voice as part of a genre that is quickly becoming the future of pop.

Mark Wagy
Berlin, Germany


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pp. 96-97
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