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Hauschka – Salon Des Amateurs

Emily Jackett


Fresh in the wake of Foreign Landscapes, Hauschka has released his new full length album Salon des Amateurs. Stepping away from strings and full scale orchestral compositions of his previous album, Salon Des Amateurs is a bold, plonking, percussive album;  Rhythmic, Synthetic, electronic sounds in minimal, complex, catchy piano based constructions.

Hauschka is the pseudonym for Dusseldorf based pianist/composer, Volker Bertelmann, who is predominantly known for his adventurous explorations of the prepared piano. Bertelmann’s creative modifications add undefinable textures and timbre’s to his compositions; gaffa tape, foil, ping pong balls and paperclips create a veritable junk yard of clunking, tinkering, ticking and trickling sounds, scattered through the album in meticulously layered songs which have achieved the difficult charm of sounding both mechanised and organic.

Inspired by the 90’s Cologne electronic scene, Salon Des Amateurs sees Hauschka turn his treated piano experiments into minimalist house and techno structures. Radar introduces the album, building quickly from a simple rhythm, it buzzes with synthetic noise, punctuated with bold dancefloor bass and syncopated beats. A catchy brass melody and a repeated piano riff hold the song together while insanely subtle strings lingering somewhere in the background help create a sense of space. This sense of space is prevalent through out the album; Hauschka seems to create three dimensions with sound, A whole room of song.

Repetition features heavily in Bertelmann’s writing, repeated melodies trickle in and out of syncopated rhythms, emulating electro. TwoAM while featuring Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn and Calexico’s Joe Burns on Cello, has a solid, thumping techno structure and feel, but unlike so much dance music has wonderful texture and depth. Less is definitely more, the minimalistic element lends strength to the various instruments and sounds.

The whole album is an exciting combination of two opposing genres, classical and dance. Hauschka’s crafty post classical modifications and compositions challenges the traditional expectations of the instrument and of the house/techno genre while still maintaining an underlying sense of elegance, fun and playfulness.


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