Saturday, July 13, 2013

Steve Hauschildt: Sequitur

Steve Hauschildt.  Sequitur.
What do you listen for when you listen to electronic music?  Dancefloor trance?  Ambient stasis?  Experimental noise?  Not being a dancer, I’m not looking for a heavy beat, and I don’t care much for the chaotic noise end of the spectrum, but I also don’t want it to sound like a cheap video game.  I like melody, harmony, and something approaching a coherent structure.  Being somewhere between ambient and dance, but neither one, Steve Hauschildt’s Sequitur intrigues me, which is why I am reviewing it instead of passing it off to someone else more experienced in the genre.
Hauschildt is part of the Cleveland trio Emeralds, and is apparently the most introspective of the three, if you believe the press.  Each of the guys works on his own projects as well.  This album was recorded in Vancouver and Cleveland during 2011-2012.  Rather than give you a list of musicians at the bottom (he’s it), I’m providing the array of analog and digital devices and instruments he used.  It’s impressive.
Each track give Hauschildt an opportunity to create a new soundscape, but the pieces are related to each other in an overall conceptual framework (Am I making this up?  I don’t think so.).  The eight pieces fit together in my mind as a series of atmospheres in a specific order, which the artist expresses as a set of repetitive motifs that move through cycles or evolve.  Some tracks are closer to dance pop, others to orchestral movements, depending on structure, mood, and instruments.  My favorite track is “Kept,” near the end of the album, which displays a slowly shifting melody over more cyclical or static sounds.  There’s little beat, but a sense of forward motion provided by the melody that I find very pleasing.  “Steep Decline” does something similar in structure, but has a different feel, and develops a slow steady beat as the piece unfolds.  The effect is a series of washes cycling back to its origins.
It’s rather jarring to go back to the beginning from there, hearing the popcorn beats of “Interconnected,” and the rather more dance-oriented “Accelerated Yearning.”   It seems like Hauschildt really did have a reason for organizing his tracks in this order.  “Constant Reminders” is the only piece with vocals, and while it fits in some ways, it seems out of place somehow among the others.  The title track forms a bridge of sorts between the first set of pieces and the latter part--a mid-tempo rhythm with a dreamlike quality that unfolds a melody as it evolves.  “Mixed Messages” has a march-like beat, adding overlays as it trods along, becoming more complex in atmosphere.  
How do you listen to electronic music?  Intently, with the idea of discerning the internal structures and textures?  As background music while reading?  Hauschildt’s music could be used for either purpose.  That’s up to the listener.  Either way, I found it to be an enjoyable musical experience, and I look forward to hearing more from him.
Tracks:  Interconnected, Accelerated Yearning, Constant Reminders, Sequitur, Mixed Messages, Vegas Mode, Kept, Steep Decline.
Instruments:  Crumar Orchestrator 2, Dave Smith Instruments Prophet ‘08, EDP Wasp, EDP Spider, Electro-Harmonix EH-0300 Vocoder, Farfisa Combo Compact Organ, Farfisa Syntorchestra, Kawai SX-240, Korg Lambda, Korg PS-3300, Linndrum LM-2, Moog Modular V., Oberheim OB-5X, Roland JD-990, Roland TR-808, Roland VP-330, Sequential Circuits Prophet-5, Voice.
The Wizard of Wans

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