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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themilkman on Dec 22nd 2011 12:59 pm

The 2011 Review

As another year folds out, it is time once again to look back and take stock or the highs and lows, before a fresh year rolls in. 2011 has had its moments and has overall been a rather good year, and trying to extract a list of twenty albums from the hundreds, thousands possibly, that I have listened to, loved, hated, reviewed or not, tried to make sense of or misunderstood seems a pretty restrictive effort at best. Still, it is always good to look back and realise that some records have made more of a mark than others, some almost imperceptibly. So, here is, in twenty records, what 2011 was made of…

Jenny Hval: Viscera1.

Rune Grammofon


There is such urgency throughout this record that it is quite astonishing how Hval manages to retain any lightness in her music, but she does, and [Helge] Sten picks up on just enough to bring it all to life in sprightly bright colours and tones. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Sep 9th 2011 01:40 am

Hauschka & Hildur Guðnadóttir: Pan Tone

Pan Tone
Sonic Pieces 2011
06 Tracks. 42mins15secs

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

In early 2010, German pianist Hauschka and Icelandic experimental cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir were invited to perform together as part of Arctic Circle’s Bubbly Blue And Green festival, themed around water, which took place at King’s Place, London over the course of four days. For the occasion, the pair had concocted a series of pieces inspired by various Pantone shades of blue, from near-black to aquamarine, each evoking a particular colour of the ocean.

So truly individual are their respective work that the inspired pairing of Volker Bertelmann, a man with a penchant for purposely tempering with his piano with all manners of props to alter its sound, and Hildur Guðnadóttir, whose exploratory work takes the cello out of its usual remit to experiment with textures and loops, was always likely to deliver something totally unique. 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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themilkman on Dec 6th 2010 11:34 pm


Using a prepared piano as his instrument of choice, Düsseldorf-based musician and composer Volker Bertelmann, AKA Hauschka, has developed a very personal style since his first release back in 2004. With his latest album, he teamed up with the Magik*Magik Orchestra in San Francisco and explored the orchestral side of his work in depth for the first time. To coincide with the release of the album, Hauschka embarked on a tour which saw him joined by different formations according to the country he was playing. We took the opportunity to catch up with the man following his UK to talk about his new album, the techno project he is about to unleash, the joys and problems of playing with different orchestras, the unpredictability of playing a piano loaded with ping pong balls and having other artists adding vocals to his music. 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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ISAN/Hauschka & Hildur Guðnadóttir, Kings Place, King’s Cross, London, 26/02/2010

themilkman on Feb 26th 2010 01:06 am

Open Waters: ISAN / Hauschka & Hildur Guðnadóttir King’s Place, King’s Cross, London, 26/02/2010

The Bubbly Blue And Green is a four-day festival which celebrates water in its many forms, put together by the excellent Arctic Circle crew in the pristine surroundings of King’s Place in King’s Cross, London, with performances from  Philip Jeck, Janek Schaefer, Samphire Band, The Sleeping Years, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Iarla O’Lionaird, The London Snorkelling Team, Paper Cinema and The Willkommen Orchestra. The second evening of the BBAG welcomed the gentle electronics of ISAN and the textured classical brushes of Hauschka, accompanied for the occasion by Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, who is also due to perform as part of the festival on Saturday.

ISAN’s elegant and fluid blend of electronica lends itself to watery connotations, and their set, played on a backdrop of remote Scandinavian snowed in landscapes, certainly fitted the bill, Antony Ryan and Robin Saville using a ‘dripophone’, a contraption which sole purpose seemed to amplify dripping water, for the first two somewhat quiet tracks, an issue with feedback preventing a louder use of the ‘instrument’, it appeared. These two first pieces were definitely on the more ambient side of the pair’s work, the first slowing emerging from light bells to implant a slow groove into a placid sequence, while the second, led by a rolling rhythmic pattern from early on allowed the pair to bridge this first part of their set with the more upbeat and familiar second half. 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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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Bip-Hop Generation Vol. 9 (Bip-Hop)

themilkman on Feb 13th 2009 02:00 am

Various Artists: Bip-Hop Generation Vol. 9

Bip-Hop Generation Vol. 9
Bip-Hop Records 2008
11 Tracks. 70mins37secs

Icon: arrow Buy: CD

In the ten years that Bip-Hop label boss Philippe Petit has been compiling Bip-Hop Generation volumes, the spectrum of artists and genres represented is pretty impressive: Murcof, Phonem, Accelera Deck, Schneider TM, Goem, Ilpo Väisänen, Wang Inc., Mira Calix, Neotropic, Twine, Taylor Deupree, Si-Cut.db, Bovine Life, Datach’i, Andrew Duke, Fm3, Scanner, Tu M’, Tennis and Petit’s own Strings Of Consciousness are amongst those who have helped make this a truly era-defining series. 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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