Experimental composer and pianist Hauschka's (real name Volker Bertelmann) new album is based around the idea of abandoned cities.
Each track on the record is named after a different abandoned city around the world in an attempt to convey the inner tension created by simultaneous feelings of hope and sadness, loneliness and happiness that the German experiences whilst sitting at his piano composing music.
This tension is displayed in Bertelmann's juxtaposition of bright, cheerful keyboard patterns and dark, percussive overtones. Once again adapting his preferred prepared piano methods, the highly inventive composer creates a myriad of interesting and creative sounds by adding different materials to his piano strings.
Much of the album is improvised, written and mixed in the moment and recorded using six microphones to record the piano direct to analogue, as well as three more to feed it into different kinds of effects and filters, adding to the wave of experimentation which litters both this album and Hauschka's back catalogue.
Bertelmann's deconstructionist approach delivers a highly adept and ethereal blend of neoclassical composition and dance music rhythms to create something truly of its own on Abandoned City, proving once again why Hauschka is such a widely regarded modern composer.
4 out of 5