Hauschka returns to the material of last year’s Abandoned City album, this time abandoning it even further with A NDO C Y, a collection of tracks from the same sessions paired with two striking remixes from Eluvium and Devendra Banhart, who take those pieces into fresh, sparse new territory. LP on Temporary Residence.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 08 July 2015
Hauschka’s ‘Abandoned City’ bled neo-classical into minimal techno, reducing the piano’s role in composition to that of a wardrobe storing other instruments, making noises based on what object the notes compelled to move. A lover of concepts, Hauschka dedicated the record to the sounds made by empty cities, envisioning threnodies for places no one lived; the results were strikingly melancholy, but also surprisingly frantic, suggesting the clutter left behind in broken buildings and trashed roads. The curiously titled ‘A NDO C Y’ revisits the project for its own trashed and forgotten leftovers.
God only knows why Hauschka didn’t choose to make “Varosha” the project’s leading tune; not only is it symptomatic of the repetitive, percussive piano music that he makes through toy instruments being cycled through within his prepared piano, it’s also stunningly beautiful, incorporating panoramic string swells that lend the piece a gorgeous rise and fall. Beyond this tune, ‘A NDO CY’ is indicative of Hauschka’s polemic interest in classical, as he takes on different keys and aesthetics, invoking a more playful spirit with “North Brother Island”, which uses a clock-ticking rhythm to settle ripples of piano. “Hashima Island” follows in the vein of Hauschka’s interest in deafeningly quiet dark ambient, his wired piano trembling but never towards a climax.
On side B, Hauschka invites friends to remix his work, with a surprising appearance from freaky folkie Devendra Banhart. “AGDAM” is largely an ambient work fragmenting around Hauschka’s phased piano style, focusing in on a distantly removed drumbeat that wouldn’t be out of place in a Godspeed tune. Less surprising and far more predictable is Eluvium’s remix of “Stromness”, which sounds fresh from the Matthew Cooper’s time collaborating in Inventions -- it’s full of beautiful distortion and dangling piano notes that would make Sigur Ros feel like proud post-rock dads. All in all, Hauschka continues to prove that there is beauty in taking apart beauty.
10/10 David Customer review, 8th August 2015
I bloody love this record. It's the first thing I've bought by him. It's like a melding of all the types of music I love - bit of neo classical, bit of ambient, bit of pastoral.
If I had to choose one artist it was most like I'd say Nils Frahm but it does have its own style.
Often remixes are a bit disappointing but the two on the b side are really ace and complement the a side well while still mixing things up a bit.
What I love most about it is that it's relaxing while not being unchallenging.
Buy it while you can!
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