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What If
City Slang
Catalogue Number
Release Date
March 31, 2017


Volker Bertelmann returns to his cherished Hauschka project for the carefully constructed modern classical harmonics of What If, his eighth album to date and following on from modern classics Abandoned City & 2.11.14.

In the intervening years since his last album proper, Hauschka has undergone the recording of two highly regarded soundtracks, The Boy and his collaboration with Dustin O'Halloran Lion. Yet What If finds Hauschka using the album as a vehicle to explore a newly found interest in programming automated player pianos AKA pianolas, Hauschka set about "exploiting the speed at which they could play," and "manipulating the resulting sounds, and building layers to emphasise a composition’s metre". This new layer of instrumentation adds previously unheard influences of jazz and classic to what is unmistakably a Volker Bertelmann record.

While the focus lands fully on the organic arrangements of his compositional prepared piano work, What if is unique for Hauschka in that it finds him also incorporating a Roland Jupiter 4 synth and an Eventide H3000 Haronizer to the makeup of the music. These newly favoured synthesisers add layers of digital cobwebs that mask the overall sound of the album with a blurred delay that will find a home basking in the same realms as Murcof, Go Go Penguin & even echoes elements of Ben Frost.

Themed around science fiction, What If sets out to explore the secrets of life on earth thirty years into the future, crowning this with the album's title, Hauschka has created a unique blend of nostalgia for the future that is sure to find all those that fall under its spell returning to it for decades to come.

Digital Track List

  1. 1 I Can't Find Water 5:08 Buy

    I Can't Find Water

  2. 2 Constant Growth Fails 4:08 Buy

    Constant Growth Fails

  3. 3 My Kids Live on Mars 3:56 Buy

    My Kids Live on Mars

  4. 4 I Need Exile 4:54 Buy
  5. 5 I Can't Express My Deep Love 3:32 Buy

    I Can't Express My Deep Love

  6. 6 Nature Fights Back 3:58 Buy

    Nature Fights Back

  7. 7 Familiar Things Disappear 5:12 Buy

    Familiar Things Disappear

  8. 8 Trees Only Exist in Books 7:25 Buy

    Trees Only Exist in Books

  9. 9 We Live a Thousand Years 4:06 Buy

    We Live a Thousand Years

  10. 10 Egos Are Detached (Bonus Track) 5:04 Buy

    Egos Are Detached (Bonus Track)

  11. 11 Knowledge Is Passed On (Bonus Track) 3:37 Buy

    Knowledge Is Passed On (Bonus Track)


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