Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Steve Hauschildt - The Stairwell is Long Gone (Deception Island CS)

Emeralds' own Steve Hauschildt (the Moog-man when I saw them...) lays down some beautiful synth explorations here on this C20 put out on Deception Island, a killer label run by the guy behind Bee Mask who happens to do some nifty synth stuff of his own.

Where Emeralds has a penchant for building these thick and loud monoliths of sound that sometimes move into unabashedly kraut-like realms, Hauschildt's solo work sticks to a less intense, more drifting take on the early synth route. Like some of Klaus Schulze's less composed stuff, or even some of Roedelius' solo work, the first side (well actually, it's hard to say which is the first side... I lost track after the third listen or so...) drifts along with steady rhythmic pulses that intermingle to create a kind of sweeping environment. No one tone sticks out and whenever anything enters it is with great care, filling in any rhythmic holes with more pointilist shards of warmth. It's beautiful, meditative material that comes fully formed and realized. The ten minutes are just enough for the piece to determine it's own pace, giving it enough time to breathe a bit and change enough that you feel like you've arrived somewhere, even if that somewhere looks a lot like the beginning did. Beautiful.

The second side opens with a less rhythmic approach, offering thick soups of warm tones over which a metallic pulse comes in, reshaping everything underneath into a kind of undulating cosmic voyage. And yeah, that's all anybody ever talk's about with this kind of stuff. And sure. There're planet's on the cover and a feeling of wide open blue comes across in all of it. So sure. It's a little cheap to go that route, but really, there's something to be said for that. Maybe it's the continuing influence of Eno's Apollo and the standard soundtrack to every drifting satellite we see that does it, but this music is spacious and warm and just beautiful. Actually, the side comes across more like an instrumental from Another Green World than Apollo, with the analog warmth of the tones and the skittering digital sounding mini melodies presenting a world of sound to discover as you enter into it. It's ten minutes feel as full as most sides twice as long.

These Emeralds guys all have a grasp on what they're doing. Everyone always remarks on their age and sure, they're doing some great work and they're only 20 or something, but what's most impressive isn't that they're young and making great music but that they seem to be extremely well versed in their history as well. The result is a music that is fueled by its 70s counterparts for sure, but that more importantly has the confidence to create a world in and of itself, inhabiting its own time and space on its own terms and allowing the listener to discover that world as they see fit.

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