Steve Hauschildt has been long admired in these parts, firstly for his work with experimental electronic trio Emeralds and then as a solo artist with classic albums such as Where All Is Fled and Strands. His new album, Nonlin, is his sixth and sees him evolve yet further. Another classic? We shall see, but the chances are good.
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When Emeralds broke up we were given fresh insight into how that band worked. With its three members combines, their music had this wonderful liquidity to it, their contributions all mixed together. And as I hope everyone reading this is aware, it’s hard to un-mix liquids.
All three members have continued to release music since then, and we can now see what each brought to the table. Mark McGuire was responsible for all the noodly guitars, while John Elliot and Steve Hauschildt shared synth duties. ‘Nonlin’ is Hauschildt’s seventh album since the end of Emeralds and by now I think I could pick his synths out of a lineup. They have a lot in common with the streaming service exclusive sci-fi tv show soundtrack synths that have saturated the market, but there’s a deftness about them. Hauschildt’s synths float up high, gently oscillating.
He’s also much better at imbuing his synths with emotion than many of his peers. ‘A Planet Left Behind’ is all big and hazy and slow moving, which makes for a mournful three and a half minutes. ‘The Nature Remaining’ has a similar air, before the entry of some string like synths add a bit of hope and optimism.
On ‘Nonlin’ and ‘American Spiral’ Hauschildt lets loose. Both carry his trademark sound, but also feature the sort of mad fuckery that Oneohtrix Point Never so artfully weaves into his productions. Turns out Haschildt is good at it too, and these moments act as shards, ready to pierce through the acceptance of the milder ones.
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