Hauschka is the alias of Dusseldorf-based pianist/composer Volker Bertelmann, whose work is based upon an exploration of the possibilities of the 'prepared' piano, influenced by Steve Reich and Michael Nyman – a playfully disruptive intervention into the preconceived idea of the piano as a pure-toned, perfected instrument waiting for a gifted virtuoso to play on it. Instead, Bertelmann explores and influences the outcome of his playing by getting right down inside the instrument – clamping wedges of leather, felt or rubber between the strings; preparing the hammers with aluminium paper or rough films; placing crown corks on the strings, weaving guitar strings around the piano's guts, or pasting them down with gaffa tape. These little modifications throw up an array of rustling, drumming, shivering, scraping, resonating sounds which either provide the focus/drive for a piece or hook the ear into an intriguing, slightly unusual frame. The resulting pieces are composed both originally and charmingly, forming vivid, unconventional tracks made through what Bertelmann terms a playful 'research-enthusiasm'.
Hauschka's release in 2007 is Room to Expand
on Fat Cat Reccords. He has previously released two albums on the Karaoke Kalk label – Substantial
(2004) and The Prepared Piano
(2005); and a 7", What A Day
(2005) on the Ear Sugar label. Besides working as Hauschka, Volker is a member of Music A.M., a collaboration with Stefan Schneider (To Rococco Rot, Mapstation
) and Luke Sutherland (Long Fin Killie); and of the electronic/club tracks duo Tonetraeger, his project with Torsten Mauss. A remix album of tracks from The Prepared Piano
is to be released on Karaoke Kalk in May 2007, including mixes from Nobukazu Takemura, Tarwater, Mira Calix, Frank Bretschneider, Vert, Wechsel Garland, Eglantine Gouzy, and Barbara Morgenstern.
While his 2010 album Foreign Landscapes paid tribute to the world of the salon-orchestra, Hauschka’s new album, to be released on Fat Cat in May 2011, is a minimal pop hybrid featuring musicians from Calexico and múm that has one eye on the dance floor.
› CTM.11 › PALAIS WITTGENSTEIN
› 2007 › Rechenzentrum release concert, Volksbühne