Hauschka - Foreign Landscapes

By: Amanda Lewis

Hauschka - Foreign Landscapes

Foreign Landscapes

(FatCat Records)

SOUNDS LIKE: Place, space and deeply personal meaning are all expressed in Foreign Landscapes via an orchestral nod to minimalism and the mid-century avant garde.

Space is undeniably the most intriguing aspect of Foreign Landscapes, the latest reslease from FatCat Records by German composer/performer Hauschka (Volker Bertelmann). The concept is obviously suggested in the title of the album, and each song is a programmatic representation of places both exact (Union Square) and perhaps less so (Snow). Hauschka uses the full array of his musical arsenal to create pieces that are distinct from one another, but that also obviously exist within the same sonic world.

The track "Kouseiji" is a prepared piano solo work featuring use of percussive materials. The rattling subtly enhances the already fairly present echo, and places the piano, sonically, in an almost cavernous space. The wind and bowed instruments of other tracks have similar repetitive themes and open harmony as the piano on "Kouseiji," but lack the extra percussive reverberation that pinpoints the space of the piano work. They share a world, but the landscape is different.

Hauschka wears his musical influences on his sleeve in Foreign Landscapes, drawing from Philip Glass (Children & Snow), John Cage (Kouseiji) and Steve Reich (Union Square). However, his attention to the space specific to his recordings clearly sets Hauschka apart from his predecessors.

Video: “Random Gifts (Improvisation)“ by Hauschka


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