Hauschka - What If

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2017-03-31

If your travels ever take you to Honfleur in Normandy, where the river Seine flows into the La Manche Channel, be sure to visit Eric Satie’s museum. After all, that is the composer’s hometown. One of the people you might encounter wandering the halls, and sticking close to the final exhibit, a white player-piano constantly playing Satie’s melodies is a certain German guy that will answer to either Volker Bertelmann or his, shall we stay with French, nom du plume, Hauschka.

You see, Hauschka is one of the proponents of both, the prepared piano, and great melodies. Something Satie is also known for, and something that Hauschka was kind enough to treat us throughout his 17 albums in the last 12 years. Also throughout this new one, "What If”, thank you.

While the opening “I Can’t Find Water”, also sprinkled with tasteful effects, is a prime example of this, “Constant Growth Fails” shows that Hauschka is a man of many artistic interests and talents as he skillfully incorporates the ideas of composers like Steve Reich, filtered through the motorik sounds of Krautrock bands like Neu!

The fac that he is a man of many interests and talents is further confirmed by the cinematic “My Kids Live On Mars”. After all, Hauschka did a number of film soundtracks. Also, take a look at some of his album covers, like those for  “Ferndorf”, “Foreign Landscapes” and “Silfra” to get the grasp of his visual inspirations.

The inspirations do not stop there” “I Need Exile” will thrill all Philip Glass fans, while “Nature Fights Back” harks to the best work of the classic composer turned street musician Moondog. But the key here is that Hauschka is not just an adept imitator of styles but a talented composer in his own right who is able to incorporate the multitude of influences on his work and turn them into something quite personal. The rest of the tracks on this album prove it.

What is also quite fascinating is that for all the albums he has come up with so far, Hauschka has not produced a single one that can be proclaimed as a failure. You might like some better than the others, and his best work usually follows into that category that is called “growers”. “What If” is an album that definitely falls into that category.

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