Steve Hauschildt - Critique Of The Beautiful (2009)
1 No Way Of Knowing (1:31)
2 What One Does To Another (3:38)
3 Runway (9:57)
4 Wrong Idea (1:44)
5 Critique Of The Beautiful (26:04)
Not content with being in the uber-prolific Emeralds, Steve Hauschildt has released
five solo records, which seems at first glance a little excessive -- until you take a look
at his band mates' output and discover that Hauschildt is the quiet one in the group.
A brief tally of the work of fellow Emeralds John Elliott (aka Lilypad) and Mark McGuire
results in... well, you don't have to adopt the counting method of a Papua New
Guinean tribesman to realize that is a lot of music. Pity the poor Emeralds obsessive
who has to track this lot down. At least limited runs of self-released CD-Rs and
cassettes will keep the faithful happy and the Emeralds boys in cat food, and if it is
any consolation to those just discovering the back catalog, they are not yet as
productive as Wolf Eyes and a good deal more accessible.
If you are at all familiar with the work of Emeralds -- and in this era of file-sharing even
the most limited release will find a sizable audience of the curious online -- then
Hauschildt's album Critique of the Beautiful will not sound like a radical departure.
If you've only heard of Emeralds in passing, perhaps having your interest piqued
by mention of them in a recent edition of The Wire (in which they are gathered into
the freshly-minted genre of 'hypnagogic pop', because, you know, that needed doing)
then delving into their oeuvre via Hauschildt is as good a place as any to start.
Using analogue keyboards (there might be some digital input in there, but I didn't
notice it), Hauschildt creates shimmering, diaphanous works which owe much to the
artists of the 70s, such as Popol Vuh, who made sometimes tranquil, often lengthy
pieces which eventually got them co-opted into the strange and frightening world of
New Age records. Now, Emeralds and their contemporaries have admitted a debt of
gratitude to the Windham Hill label because that is the era they grew up with, when
you could locate a ton of New Age albums on vinyl and tape going cheap in garage
sales. But to these ears they are reclaiming the original sound of analogue post-Eno
ambient rather the blandly beige CD-friendly background music of the 80s.
A strangely luminescent work, Critique Of The Beautiful is eerily familiar in places as
if directly channeling the works of predecessors; warm, calming pieces with washes
of synth and guitar ebbing and flowing. Even on moments which could threaten to
turn noisy, such as the harsh guitar tones on "What One Does To Another" or the
brief "Wrong Idea," Hauschildt holds back. Played at volume these tracks are really
quite bracing but never dissonant -- turned down to a quieter level, the pieces float
by. The lengthy title track builds slowly on a bed of drone, gently rising and falling in
tone, in a soothing and, dare one say, nearly soporific manner, until, with about ten
minutes remaining, it kicks up a level to maintain (or restore) interest.
Critique Of The Beautiful inhabits a cleaner, more serene territory to the majority of
the Emeralds' output, bringing to mind instead Laraaji, the man behind the third and
least celebrated of the Ambient series and the softer interludes beloved of early
Spiritualized releases. For all his prolific output, Hauschildt has not sacrificed quality
control, with an excellent album that condenses all that is good about the last
thirty-plus years of ambient music into forty-three minutes.
Это сообщение отредактировал cornflakes - 23.08.09 в 16:09