Abandoned City - Temporary Residence Ltd


Abandoned City


Hauschka is the solo moniker of composer, songwriter and experimental musician Volker Bertelmann, who has brought an exciting new perspective to the prepared piano – a technique for getting new sounds from the acoustic keyboard by resting various everyday objects on the strings of the instrument. Abandoned City was recorded in Bertelmann's home studio in a burst of creative energy following the birth of his first son. The songs were recorded using nine microphones; six recorded the sounds coming from the piano strings through an analogue console feeding directly into a computer to preserve the instrument's full, warm sound. The remianing three mics passed the tones through a mixer full of effects – delay, distortion, echo – that can be triggered separately or used simultaneously. Bertelmann creates the music and the arrangements as he goes, trusting the music to take him in the proper direction. “Most of the songs were played on one piano; I was mixing as I played. If I needed more piano, I overdubbed with another twiddling of effects. All the sounds – harp, balafon, Melodica, drums – are produced by the keyboard,” Bertelmann explains. The compositions on Abandoned City awaken the loneliness and unattainable romance of timeless, unfamiliar places, with cinematic melodies full of resonant overtones, bright cheerful keyboard patterns and dark percussive touches. The tracks all bear the names of actual vacant cities. Hauschka chose Abandoned City as the title of the album to convey the sense of hope and sadness that consumes him when he's sitting alone at the keyboard. “I was interested in finding a metaphor for the inner tension I feel when I'm composing music, a state of mind where I'm lonely and happy at the same time,” Bertelmann professes. “When I saw photos of abandoned cities, I felt it was perfect. People once lived there, but they left in a rush and now nature has taken over in a beautiful way, things are growing up from the sidewalk and the seasons are changing colors. The music is dark, but in a quiet, uplifting way. The piano is singing the melody but, because of the effects, you can't hear it directly. It's like the sound of a choir under the earth, something you feel without realizing it.”


1. Elizabeth Bay
2. Pripyat
3. Thames Town
4. Who Lived Here?
5. Agdam
6. Sanzhi Pod City
7. Craco
8. Barkersville
9. Stromness

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