Volker Bertelmann aka Hauschka, the sonic magician whose prepared piano generates experimental dance music and erases the borders between contemporary classical compositions, electro-acoustic experiments and pop music, will perform in Slovenia for the first time, less than a month after the release of his new album What If via City Slang.
Rather than striving for any purist academic perfection, Volker‘s playing seems as much informed by modern electronica or Indonesian gamelan as it is by any classical cannon. With the aid of his interventions, the piano becomes as much a machine for generating rhythms as it does for melody. Now and again, Hauschka utilises additional, non-piano sounds such as synthesizer, drum machine, electric bass, or other acoustic instruments like vibraphone, strings or brass. His pieces may be seen as small rhythmic sound-vignettes or just quiet ballads which have their roots in East-Asian harmonies, the minimalism of Reich, Glass, Nyman, etc., and also in Satie or Ravel.
In the past two years, Hauschka focused on film music – among other things, he and American pianist Dustin O’Halloran were nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for their film score for Lion. Now it’s time for, in Hauschka’s own words, his most radical sonic creation so far. What if our children lived on Mars? Or if each of us grew to be a thousand years old?
The titles of the songs on his new album What If play with these questions, filtering them through a sonic spectrum that goes from high-speed recordings on a programmed automatic piano to space compositions with Moog bass and innovatively prepared beats. Or, as Hauschka describes his latest masterpiece: “I had the idea of doing an album that is, in a way, a statement about the world in which we’re living and in which I see my kids growing up. What If deals with utopian concepts, and speculates about the world in 30 years’ time. The record is there to create awareness for certain topics, but I didn’t want to make it too heavy. It’s more like a very playful way of dealing with our perspectives.”
Organisation: Kataman and Kino Šiška.