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.