Alternative music reviews

April 17, 2009

Snowflakes and Carwrecks by Hauschka

Filed under: hauschka — @ 9:27 pm Comments (0)

Snowflakes and Carwrecks by HauschkaMany years ago, when the world was young, I bought Academy In Peril by John Cale, his second solo album. I suppose I was looking for some more of what Cale had given The Velvert Underground and so I didn’t imagine I would get a ‘classical music’ album. As an album it was almost certainly responsible for the interest I developed in the contemporary classical scene. The highlights of this album were two solo piano tracks, Brahms and Academy In Peril that fascinated me for many years. They both consist of a solo piano being played simply and slowly but somehow time seems to slow down when you listen to them.

I get a very similar effect with some of the tracks on Hauschka’s latest EP (7 tracks totalling 39 minutes). It must be doing wonders for my blood pressure. Snowflakes and Carwrecks has a hypnotic sadness provided by the string duo that interplays with the precussive effect of the prepared piano. Motifs are developed but in an organic way rather than the near-mechanical sequences of Phillip Glass. The tracks are all taken from the Ferndorf sessions and I am even more impressed with this EP than the full album. This is music to immerse yourself in.

Hauberg by hauschka

Hauberg by Hauschka (Clip)

Hauschka on myspace

September 3, 2008

Ferndorf by Hauschka

Filed under: hauschka — @ 9:23 pm Comments (2)

Ferndorf by HauschkaI’m pretty familiar with John Cage’s prepared piano. He would take a handful of screws, nuts, bolts and throw them onto the piano strings. When the pianist played his compositions, the notes would sound very different depending on wherethe detiritus ended up. All sorts of plinks and plonks got introduced. This introduced chance (the fancy word is ‘Stochastic’) into a composition. Every time it was played then it would sound very different.

I always suspected John Cage of being a bit of a trickster – he would take a radical approach to composition but often maintained recognisable melody. The end result was was actually rather pleasant – the opposite result of much contemporary ‘classical’ music.

Hauschka is modern composer who, on his latest album Ferndorf, uses the prepared piano as his main instrument. The piano also underlies the music rhythmically and allows extensive use of the cello and even a bit of brass to allow the music to soar off into the distance. And it does soar, it takes you off on a daydream-like journey like only the best instrumental music can.

Freibad by Hauschka

Freibad by Hauschka (clip)

Certainly this isn’t an experimental work. Cage did the experimenting and Hauschka profits from that and uses the beauty and surprise of Cage’s work as part of his creation. He adds a touch of the Phillip Glass/Michael Nyman use of motifs and what you end up with is interesting, entrancing, and rather beautiful.

Schiones Madchen by Hauschka

Schoenes Madchen by Hauschka (clip)

Hauschka on MySpace