Haleiwa is the solo project of Stockholm native Mikko Singh. Mikko makes breezy indie music with elements of new wave, kraut and surf.

Ever since Mikko first picked up the classical guitar at age nine, he has pursued many different ambitions. Having moved on from skate punk and hardcore bands to instrumental indie rock, Singh even released an album of subtle piano compositions on the 1631 label alongside artists like Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka. As an album dedicated to new beginnings, »Cloud Formations« proves to be the perfect synthesis for all of these ambitions. But it also ventures beyond that, making a side of the Stockholm native’s musical vision heard that his previous records only hinted at.

After the release 2015’s »Palm Trees of the Subarctic«, Singh began experimenting with his collection of vintage and analogue synthesizers, exploring different ways of using the guitar and putting an emphasis on his bass playing when composing. This proved to be a liberating change in perspective. While some of the songs on »Cloud Formations« were initially conceived in 2015, he recorded and produced the album between 2017 and 2018 in what he calls a »long and continuous process«, a fruitful time in which he reinvented himself.

Apart from some drum recordings (provided by his long-time friend Johan Nordlund of the Swedish hardcore band This Gift Is A Curse), Singh maintained full creative control of the album, tweaking the nine songs in his own Stockholm studio until every note and every tiny grain of sound was exactly where he wanted it to be. Over the course of two years, he was paying more attention than before to the subtleties of sound design and their emotive qualities. »I have experimented with different recording techniques,« he explains. »Some of the instruments were recorded with bad quality lo-fi microphones in order to get a better and more interesting soundscape.«

The result is a dense, at times psychedelic and intimate album, abundant with passion and optimism, despite its name, which may at first indicate the opposite. This approach becomes tangible from the very first seconds of the anthemic opener »HKI -97«, a joyful marriage of jubilant synthesizer melodies, warm bass tones and Nordlund’s high-precision drumming, topped off by Singh’s freely floating vocal melodies. It’s the perfect opener for an album and 1st single that is a celebration of new beginnings in every possible sense.              

– Morr Music

Photo by Maderaphotography.