Hallway Waverider (2022)

Label: Morr Music

Track listing: Track listing:

  1. River Park/Sleeping Pill
  2. Low Heaven
  3. A Bottomless Pit
  4. Watered Down
  5. Hide Away
  6. Lost Bay
  7. A Sea Stroll
  8. Halulu Lake
  9. Linear Sun
  10. Hallway Waverider

»Hallway Waverider« is Mikko Singh’s second album for Morr Music under his Haleiwa moniker. Blending the washed-out aesthetics of dream pop with a lo-fi take on modern psychedelia, it is a fuzzy record in more than one sense. The ten songs see the multi-instrumentalist explore the sonic idiosyncrasies of analogue recording equipment while also expressing a self-assured statement by a musician who has carved out a niche for himself and feels perfectly at home in it. “This record is like me telling my teenage self that I am OK,” says Singh. “Back then, I was recording my song ideas on cassette players but held the belief that music should be recorded in an expensive studio with expensive gear in order to be real.” As it turns out however, Singh had been right from the start, having come full circle as an established artist some twenty years later.

After exploring the affordances of vintage equipment for 2019’s »Cloud Formations« LP, Singh worked with a Tascam 244 4-track cassette recorder and Tascam 388 8-track reel-to-reel recorder to transform the sounds of his vintage synthesizers, bass, the occasional guitar part, and drums supplied by Svante Karlsson for »Hallway Waverider«. By experimenting extensively with the machines’ unique sonic qualities and constantly reworking the pieces in regards to their sound signature over the course of two years, Singh has found the perfect equilibrium of electronic music and lo-fi aesthetics while navigating with ease through styles like driving surf rock, gritty garage punk and ethereal dream pop. On his new record, he seamlessly integrates these influences into anthemic yet soothing songs.

The title of the album refers to Singh’s halcyon days as a teenager spent listening to punk music and—in wintertime—skateboarding in his own bedroom. The lyrics refer to surfing as a nod to both his own experiences with riding the waves and the music genre that has provided him with inspiration throughout his career as a prolific recording artist with three solo albums under his belt. However, surfing primarily serves as a metaphor for something bigger. “It’s about things in life that are important to me; things that make me feel good and soothe the mind,” he explains. It comes as no surprise then that »Hallway Waverider« is also dedicated to a key figure in his life. “The album is an ode to my mother who passed away in 2015,” says the artist. “She made it possible for me to have a good childhood and to be able to do what I love.”

This sense of closure and being at peace with himself is also expressed in lyrics like “A sea stroll. Going slower. Feeling featherlight,” expressing a calm that perfectly mirrors the music’s steady grooves and welcoming overall feeling. Starting with the upbeat »River Park/ Sleeping Pill«; to the almost ambient, synthesizer-heavy »A Bottomless Pit«; or short, punk-inspired and bassline-driven outbursts like »Watered Down« or »Halulu Lake«; to the blissful title track that closes the album, Singh opens up a whole panorama of different moods across a broad variety of musical styles. They are connected by that rare thing: a unique musical vision expressed by an instantly recognisable sonic signature.