HAUSCHKA: Snowflakes And Carwrecks (Fat-Cat Records/130701)


Posted on Mar 12th 2009 12:48 am

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Hauschka: Snowflakes And Carwrecks

Snowflakes And Carwrecks
Fat-Cat Records/130701 2009
07 Tracks. 39mins39secs

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Only a few months after releasing his second album, Ferndorf, Düsseldorf-based pianist and composer Volker Bertelmann returns with a companion EP of previously unreleased material recorded during the Ferndorf sessions. Clocking at just under forty minutes for the CD and MP3 versions, a little less for the vinyl, Snowflakes And Carwrecks is, like its predecessor, a beautiful and delicate collection of exquisite piano-led compositions, tinted by the addition of a small string ensemble and occasional electronics.

While the piano remains the focal point of the majority of the seven tracks (five on the vinyl) included here, the string formation is more than anecdotal here, providing regular counterpoints to Bertelmann’s light and airy melodies, at times by drawing some sombre motifs in the background, at others by highlighting the playful aspect of some of the pieces, by way of short pizzicato movements or intricate conversation with the lead instrument, especially on the fidgety Wonder or the relentless Tanz, the central piece of this release, which ripples in ever growing waves through its nine-and-a-quarter minutes.

Before that, Ginterweg welcomes the listeners with rich floral tones which appear to grow bolder and more sustained as layers are progressively added, while Eisblum offers a more reflective and intimate moment. This is also what informs Kindelsberg and Hauberg later, the former a piece where Bertelmann plays alone, the latter feeding primarily on the string ensemble, with only light piano brushes in the background. The EP concludes with Tagtraum, a composition which, like Ginterweg, slowly builds up momentum as layers are added, but here, the mood is slightly more subdued and nuanced.

Snowflakes And Carwrecks is a worthy companion release to last year’s Ferndorf, and asserts the leap that this album was from Hauschka’s debut. The prepared piano as sole source has all but gone, replaced with a more organic approach, which serves this new EP very well.


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