Ohio synth player Steve Hauschildt cut his chops performing with local trio Emeralds before going solo in the wake of his former band’s demise. Although he self-released extremely limited-edition CDRs and cassettes in the late 2000s, it wasn’t until the appearance of his first solo album proper – 2011’s Tragedy & Geometry – that his name began to filter out to a wider audience.
Building on Emeralds’ eclectic blend of classic electronic music, ambient and drone, Hauschildt’s solo work also finds itself out of time thanks to its decade-spanning mix of sound and colour that’s tricky to tie down.
“There are experimental leanings in my songs,” he explains, “but they’re still based on tonality, rhythm and things that people can latch onto. It kinda falls into a grey area. What drew me to electronic music initially, around the turn of the millennium, was Detroit techno – bands like Drexciya and Dopplereffekt. Before that it was things like Aphex Twin and Autechre – progenitors of what is considered Intelligent Dance Music. That was the gateway.”
Hauschildt’s latest offering, Where All Is Fled, exemplifies his freewheeling approach, although the result, however kaleidoscopic, always remains both concise and coherent.
“If you have an understanding of a certain genre of music, certain criteria have to be met to fall under that umbrella, but there’s a beautiful ambiguity to the term ‘electronic music’. It’s vague, and it needs to be. There needs to be elbow room. If you’re making music that’s informed by a certain genre and can be understood through it but doesn’t have the intention of being completely categorised, then it’s able to move around, combine things, and lose certain minutiae to make small waves rather than a big sea change. It’s necessary to classify things, but if you’re creating, it’s good to not box it in immediately. It’s better to be open-ended artistically, although that can have negative ramifications too.”
Perhaps the most immediate quality of Where All Is Fled is just how warm, welcoming and at times whimsical it is. Steeped in the Berlin School and the kosmische music of the 1970s, Hauschildt brings humanity to a sphere that can often be cold and robotic.
“Electronic music by nature is not natural. The bridge between music and nature is humanity, and it’s the person, or people, behind the music – whether it’s electronic or classical or whatever – that allows it to have its humanity. No matter how much has been built up technologically, humans are a part of nature.”
Old school synths aside, if there’s a thread running through Hauschildt’s work from Emeralds to the present day, it’s a keen environmental concern.
“It’s strange to think about the separation between thoughts about the environment and how that is transmuted into music,” he says. “Caring for nature and being part of nature is really part of the music I’ve made for a while. Nature has always been an integral part of my musical philosophy.”
Steve Hauschildt (synthesiser)
A stream of bubbling and blissed-out synthesiser beauty
Where All Is Fled is out now via Kranky
For more, visit Steve’s Facebook page.