Helena Hauff - Have You Been There, Have You Seen It

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:6 Release Date:2017-10-27
Helena Hauff - Have You Been There, Have You Seen It
Helena Hauff - Have You Been There, Have You Seen It

There can be no doubt that Helena Hauff's smooth little EP, Have You Been There, Have You Seen It, is clearly inspired by the early output of IDM masters such as Autechre and Aphex Twin, but even more so by the techno works of musicians like Richie Hawtin. The old-school style sounds, such as deep bass and lots of 808s, really transport the listener back a couple decades. So your enjoyment of the set will be determined by how fond you are of that era.
The lead-off track, 'Nothing is What I Know', is relatively straightforward, with a tinny melody fluttering around sparse beats, claps, and clicks. It does become a bit more intricate towards the end, sounding more like an electronic bird trapped in a cage. But it all feels very familiar to me, more an homage than a reimagining or a new sonic frontier. The second song, 'Do You Really Think Like That?' changes up the lead, with an edgier, grittier effect, but the percussion is almost identical. Third track 'Continuez Mon Enfant Vous Serez Traité En Conséquence' ("Continue My Child You Will Be Trained As a Consequence"), aptly named, continues with more of the same percussion and a third variation to the melody, more a series of bursts than a steady tune. This track actually reminds me more of a group like Deep Space Network, which drifted into these quieter, sanded-down songs frequently.
Luckily, the relatively by-the-numbers set up to this point is saved by the genius final track, 'Gift', which features an excellent percussive bass, a more skittering, varied beat, and a sweet, rippling melody in the style of Higher Intelligence Agency. This song also sounds like a less cracked version of James' "side project" The Tuss, and is without a doubt the best track on the release.
Hauff has put out a decent, if mostly unexciting EP. For hardcore fans of that 90s electronic sound, this is solid enough. For anyone else, just grab 'Gift' and call it good.

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