HAUSCHKA: Salon Des Amateurs Remix EP Vol. 1/Vol. 2 (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Jun 12th 2012 01:33 am

Hauschka: Salon Des Amateurs Vol. 1 Hauschka: Salon Des Amateurs Vol. 2

Salon Des Amateurs Remix EP Vol. 1
Fat-Cat Records 2012
02 Tracks. 16mins26secs
Format: 12”/Digital

Salon Des Amateurs Remix EP Vol. 2
Fat-Cat Records 2012
02 Tracks. 15mins15secs
Format: 12″/Digital

Salon Des Amateurs Remix Vol. 1
Amazon UK: 12″ | DLD Boomkat: 12″ | DLD
Salon Des Amateurs Remix Vol. 2
Amazon UK: DLD Boomkat: DLD

The prospect of a techno album from Hauschka may have sounded incongruous a year ago, but it is what Volker Bertelman delivered, of sort, with Salon Des Amateurs last April. Moving away from the post classical tone of his previous releases and taking on the counterpoint of what he had put his prepared piano through until then, Bertelman opted to experiment with playful loops, miniature grooves and occasional orchestral flourishes. If the result was never intended to crash onto the dance floors of any Balearic superclubs, it showed just how imaginative Bertelman could be with his usual framework. The next logical step was to turn all this on its head again and have these compositions reworked by refined artists, and this is exactly what these two EPs, released a few weeks apart, offer.

There may only be four remixes in total for now, but these are tantalising teasers for a whole album’s worth of such treatments, with names such as Vladislav Delay, Alva Noto or Matthew Herbert announced as contributors, due later on this year. Continue Reading »

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JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON: The Miners’ Hymns (130701/Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on May 23rd 2011 01:08 am

Jóhann Jóhannsson: The Miners' Hymns

The Miners Hymns
130701/Fat-Cat Records 2011
06 Tracks. 51mins00secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s latest project, the soundtrack to the latest film by New York-based experimental film director Bill Morison, The Miners’ Hymn, is quite a departure for the Icelandic composer and musician. The film documents the working and social lives of the coal mining communities of the north of England through the use of archive footage from the BFI, the BBC and local organisations, and was premiered at Durham Cathedral as part of the city’s International Festival last year.

For his score, Jóhannsson, whose music provides the sole sound aspect of the film, incorporates elements of the region’s cultural heritage into his music, most prominently by using brass instruments extensively, evoking the traditional marching bands which continue to exist to this day. Continue Reading »

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HAUSCHKA: Salon Des Amateurs (130701/Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Mar 29th 2011 10:05 pm

Hauschka: Salon Des Amateurs

Salon Des Amateurs
130701/Fat Cat Records 2011
10 Tracks. 42mins19secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Tangents are weird and wonderful things, drifting away from a main idea to explore another, with often only the slightest of common ground between them. Salon Des Amateurs is one such tangent for Volker Bertelmann. Barely a few months after he unleashed Foreign Landscapes, an album on which he abandoned the solitary prepared piano work he had until then been largely associated with to venture into more orchestral forms, Bertelmann returns with Salon Des Amateurs, an album on which he confronts contemporary classical music with dance references and occasional electronic brushes.

At the heart of this is Hauschka’s prepared piano, which is given an additional layer of oddity with the use of loops, which capture and repeat peripheral sounds (a recurring bouncing ping pong ball on Ping for instance), and electronic treatments, which allow Bertelmann to distort his sound further. Continue Reading »

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DUSTIN O’HALLORAN: Lumiere (130701/Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Feb 16th 2011 01:03 am

Dustin O'Halloran: Lumiere

130701/Fat-Cat Records 2011
09 Tracks. 43mins18secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP

A grainy, flickery and blurred vision of what could be a heavy curtain of the type you use to find in cinemas before the days of multiplex complexes, upon which is projected a name and a word, LUMIERE, appearing fuzzy and distorted; the cover of Dustin O’Halloran’s debut for Fat-Cat’s modern classical sister imprint 130701 spells things out loud and clear even before a single note has played: this is cinematic music. But, if both the title, French for light, but, more fittingly, also the name of the two pioneering French filmmaker brothers who premiered their first film in Paris in 1895, and the visual shown on the cover, could lead to think that this album pays tribute to the art of cinematography, it is not quite the case. Continue Reading »

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Hauschka + Clem Leek, Bush Hall, Shepherd’s Bush, London, 9/11/2010

themilkman on Nov 10th 2010 01:06 am

Hauschka + Clem Leek Bush Hall, Shepherd's Bush, London, 9/11/2010

Located in the lively and cosmopolitan Shepherd’s Bush area, West London, a stone-throw from the cold and soulless Westfield shopping arcade, Bush Hall is like an oasis of calm and tranquility. The place has been many things over the years, from its original purpose as a ball room to a soup kitchen during the second World War, a snooker club in the seventies, before being returned to its former glory, complete with carved ceiling and chandeliers, in the nineties. It retains a level of intimacy which was perfectly suited to this evening’s performance from German musician and composer Volker Bertelmann, better known as Hauschka, who was kicking off his UK tour following the release of his recent album, Foreign Landscapes, on Fat Cat. For this performance, Bertelmann was accompanied by a twelve-piece ensemble, who, he informed us, due to the impossible logistic of taking a whole orchestra on tour, he only had met the day before for a rehearsal session, and was ‘feeling like speed dating’. Continue Reading »

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HAUSCHKA: Foreign Landscapes (130701/Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Oct 12th 2010 01:10 am

Hauschka: Foreign Landscapes

Foreign Landscapes
130701/Fat-Cat Records 2010
12 Tracks. 55mins41secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD Amazon US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Imagine for a moment going through border controls with a panoply of gaffa tape rolls, ping pong balls, kitchen foil, little hammers, guitar strings, pegs and other random objects, all with the purpose of playing music. This is a daily occurrence for German musician Hauschka, who has made the prepared piano his instrument of predilection. Hailing from Düsseldorf, Volker Bertelmann, a classically-trained pianist, released his first album, Substantial, on Karaoke Kalk in 2004, and followed it with the self-explanatory The Prepared Piano a year later. Signed to Fat-Cat’s modern classical sister label 130701 since 2007, Bertelmann has since considerably developed his composition style, and his latest offering, Foreign Landscapes, represents once again a massive step forward. Continue Reading »

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MAX RICHTER: Infra (130701/Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Jul 1st 2010 01:36 am

Max Richter: Infra

130701/Fat-Cat Records 2010
13 Tracks. 40mins39secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP

Max Richter has become very much in demand these days, with a number of increasingly high-profile projects under his belt, from soundtrack work, his score for Ari Forman’s animated memoire Waltz With Bashir earned him a European Film Award for best composer in 2008, to art installations. One such commission came from English modern dance choreographer Wayne McGregor, who enlisted Richter to provide the score for Infra, a ballet inspired by T.S. Elliot’s poem The Waste Land, and a collaboration between McGregor, Richter and Welsh visual artist Julian Opie, which premiered at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London at the end of 2008. The performance, and work around it, was also the subject of a documentary broadcast on BBC 2 that same year.

Presented here in expanded form, with the original eight compositions created for Infra intertwined with an additional five pieces inspired, as their titles suggest, by the notion of journey, this record is typical of Richter’s work Continue Reading »

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MAX RICHTER: Memoryhouse (130701/Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Nov 5th 2009 01:17 am

Max Richter: Memoryhouse

130701/Fat-Cat Records 2009
18 Tracks. 65mins04secs

Icon: arrow Amazon UK: CD | LP Amazon US: CD Boomkat: CD

Max Richter spent his formative years studying music and composition in Edinburgh and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, then went on to form Piano Circus with five other pianists in the late eighties in order to perform Steve Reich’s Six Pianos. He stayed with the formation for ten years, working on pieces by composers such as Reich, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, Terry Riley or Michael Nyman, during which time he also collaborated with Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans of The Future Sound Of London for a number of years, notably contributing to the pair’s Dead Cities album in 1996, and The Isness in 2002.

Recorded with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and originally published on the BBC’s short-lived Late Junction imprint in 2002, Memoryhouse was the first of Richter’s records as a composer, and established the blueprint for his work to follow, blending often melancholic orchestral themes and piano solos, peppering them with discreet electronics and samples of conversations. Continue Reading »

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Max Richter, Union Chapel, Islington, London, 23/10/2009

themilkman on Oct 26th 2009 12:00 am

Max Richter, Union Chapel, Islington, London, 23/10/2009

Hosted at the Union Chapel in Islington and organised by the good people over at Arctic Circle, this week saw a series of performances collected under the Marginalised banner, in support of the Margins Project, an charity operating from the back of the Union Chapel for people who are homeless or in crisis in London, with performances by Gavin Bryars and Max Richter and events focusing on the music of Vernon Elliot and Michael Nyman. Before the performance took place, an introduction to the charity was presented to the audience in the form of a short film, highlighting the need for such an organisation in the area, the relentless work of voluntaries and the major drop in donations resulting of the current economic climate. Marginalised, in its second year, gives a chance to put on a program of events and generate some revenue for Margins. Continue Reading »

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

themilkman on Mar 12th 2009 12:48 am

Hauschka: Snowflakes And Carwrecks

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

Icon: arrow Buy: CD | 12″ | MP3 | iTunes

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. Continue Reading »

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OUR BROTHER THE NATIVE: Parting Marrows (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Oct 23rd 2008 12:51 am

Our Brother The Native: Parting Marrow

Parting Marrows
Fat-Cat Records 2008
05 Tracks. 21mins28secs
Format: Digital

Close in essence to CocoRosie and Animal Collective, the first output from Our Brother The Native, Tooth & Claw, released over two years ago, already showed strong signs of creative flair, especially for a band formed by three teenagers scattered around the US, who only met in the flesh for their first live set, shortly after the album was released. They returned earlier this year with the much darker and challenging Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels, which swapped the glittering broken folk of their previous effort for slices of tortured spaced-out post rock.

With Parting Marrows, Joshua Bertram, John-Michael Foss and Chaz Knapp return to more purely pastoral tones, but this digital-only EP marks yet another departure, this time toward slightly bohemian moods. Continue Reading »

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HAUSCHKA: Ferndorf (Fat-Cat Records/130701)

themilkman on Oct 2nd 2008 12:45 am

Hauschka: Fendorf

Fat-Cat Records/130701 2008
12 Tracks. 46mins11secs

The project of German composer and pianist Volker Bertelmann, Hauschka provides a space for him to explore the piano in all its prepared glory and go beyond the boundaries of classical music, which still serves as the basis for his work. Indeed, Bertelmann spent over ten years studying classical piano before embarking on a much more challenging and experimental journey. As Hauschka, he combines his academic expertise with a playful approach, which has led him to place cork crown on the string of his piano, wrapping the hammers with aluminium paper or sticking rubber or felt between the strings to draw all sorts of unusual sounds from his instrument of predilection. Continue Reading »

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