There is a growing tendency among modern electronic music to focus on immediacy, a constant drive to champion the prolific and celebrate the speed with which an artist can churn out successive releases. Consequently, the music can sometimes seem as though its designed purely for short term consumption – background MP3’s or quick fixes in a club.
One could argue that its symptomatic of either our lives becoming too fast paced, the art we consume too dumbed down, or both.
The trend is of course not universal, and in the last few years some artists have slowed down their rate of production to make a clear statement of releasing more considered works. The new album by Steve Hauschildt, coming close to 3 years after his last release of new material, is a case in point. “Where All is Fled” is an album that sounds like it has formed from months of intricate work, deep consideration and obsessive tweaking.
Hauschildt himself used to be part of the trend of hyper productivity. His former band, the neo-kosmiche trio Emeralds, initially came to the fore with a seemingly never ending stream of small run tape and CDR releases. Calling their early output lo-fi would be wrong, but there was a sense that the transition from conception to publication of each release was short, an idea reinforced by the fact that all three members also had prolific solo careers at the same time.
The democraticisation of the recording process, allowing more people to access high quality hardware and software whether it be in their home studio or through more affordable professional studio rates, has had the happy consequence of leading to an explosion of creativity – a clear example being the vital tape scene of the mid-noughties US that Emeralds were a part of. With “Where All is Fled” Hauschildt, proves that this improved access to recording facilities also opens doors to producing complex, ambitious records without the need for massive financial backing.
From the ambient opener ‘Eyelids Gently Open‘ the record takes its time. Each piece is given the chance to breathe, with pristine synth arpeggio’s like those on ‘Vicinities‘ and ‘Aequus‘ given space to float and evolve. Individual tracks, and the album as a whole, feel as though they are all following a natural arc, moments in a broader narrative which reaches its conclusion with ‘Centrifuge‘, a morose mix of interlacing melodies which decays into white noise and drone, somehow feeling like it is returning to the territory of the album’s opener.
Unlike his most obvious contemporaries – the likes of Keith Fullerton Whitman for example – Hauschildt’s ambition is not affected by a leaning towards the obtuse, a fact which makes the album stand out among other synth experimentalists. The mixture of field recordings, acoustic piano chords and synthesis on the title track point towards a concern purely with clarity. Although created largely from digital and analogue synthesizers, it’s composition feels more connected to an orchestral composer like Max Richter or Krzysztof Penderecki.
Since his first solo record on Kranky, ‘Tragedy and Geometry‘, Hauschildt has spoken at length in interviews of the influence he takes from visual artists such as Charles Meynier (1768 – 1832) and Jay DeFeo (1929 – 1989). The works of both are dense, monumental statements of intricacy and dedication by the artist. Such grandiose themes were hinted at on Hauschildt’s last two records, but through the meticulously crafted synthesis, processed natural sounds and computer generated voices of ‘Where All is Fled’ he has moved his music even further away from the trend of instant gratification into one of slowly developing appreciation.
Where All Is Fled is released via Kranky on 25th September 2015. Order a vinyl copy from Bleep.
1. Eyelids Gently Dreaming
3. A Reflecting Pool
6. Edgewater Prelude
7. In Spite Of Time’s Disguise
8. Where All Is Fled
9. The World Is Too Much With Us