Sean BW Parker waxes eloquently about the avant-garde classicism of Hauschka’s latest experimental suite, Abandoned City.
Hauschka ‘Abandoned City’ (City Slang Records) Available Now
It’s very hard to go about discussing a deeply thought about, worked on instrumental concept album. Most value judgements fly out the window when you realise simply that it is what it is – which may be a good thing in fact.
Germany’s Hauschka composes by ‘prepared piano’, which means directly hitting the strings of the instrument with various pieces of covered fabric implements to achieve new tonality. Here, he is doing this to conjure the lonely emotions one encounters in various abandoned cities around the world, and indeed successfully reflects that desolation.
The haunted-yet-soothing, repetitive hypnosis of Steve Reich is dominant, and the more atonal, discordant adventures of John Cage or La Monte Young, while forever casting an ominous shadow over the bleak landscape, never really arrive to jar, Hauschka seemingly preferring a suggested sadness over an imposed crisis.
‘Craco’ is the album’s highpoint in terms of conventional, musical beauty, its evocative piano twinkling ephemerally at dusk, its writer lamenting the loss of families, life and vibrancy, while grass grows through the cracks in the concrete – this in itself representing a new form of life.
So, did I paint a picture? In a media world of over-produced, quick-fix, genre-ridden tripe, Hauschka insists you sit back and actually listen, while he leads you through the alleyways and past the rusting gasworks of his abandoned cities; and we become his pliant, mesmerised passengers.
Sean Bw Parker