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Hauschka Ferndorf [album]

Hauschka: FerndorfTaking his inspiration from the natural
  surroundings of his childhood,
  Hauschka has produced the wonderful
  Ferndorf (which translates as ‘distant
) — a magical musical exploration
  of nature
s forests and mountains that
  surround the German village he left

HAUSCHKA BEGINS TO PLAY and all around the office you can hear a pin drop what must it be like to hear him live? There is nothing heavy here. Ferndorf is a very beautiful, light and evocative collection of magical music pieces inspired by the lovely open forests and far mountains of an idyllic childhood natural surroundings that had to be left to be appreciated.

This tribute to nature has a very attractive art deco-style album cover with a figure looking back to the village with an enormous sun over it.

Hauschka's second album for FatCat's 130701 imprint offers a brilliant advance on 2007's Room To Expand. Where the previous album comprised mostly solo recordings of Hauschka's prepared piano (with a few electronic and instrumental overdubs), Ferndorf is a far more expansive and fully-realised album, with many of the tracks also featuring a string duo enabling an increased solidity. More dynamic — its staccato stabbing rhythms are rendered increasingly rousing and emotive with these additional strings.

Close your eyes and you are surrounded by the tall trees; you can hear the splash from the swimming pool in an enchanted clearing and soar to the peaks with the music in your ears. This is just what you need to listen to as you wind down after a busy day.

Whilst the recordings still retain the shivers and tics (as by-products of) of the modified internal workings of the piano — alongside some sweet electronic touches — these are less central and instead what's foregrounded is the melodic/rhythmic push and pull, and a development towards more orchestrated music and notated compositions.

Every track seems to lift your heart and stir your soul; relaxing your body as your mind blots out the rat race and absorbs each pure musical note of Hauschka's enchanting Ferndorf.

Hauschka's Ferndorf is out now (released 8 September, 2008) on CD/LP/Digital on FatCat/130701.


1 Blue Bicycle | 2 Morgenrot | 3 Rode Null | 4 Freibad | 5 Barfuss durch Gras | 6 Heimat | 7 Nadelwald | 8 Schönes Mädchen | 9 Eltern | 10 Alma | 11 Neuschnee | 12 Weeks of Rain

"Every track seems to lift your heart and stir your soul; relaxing your body as your mind blots out the rat race and absorbs each pure musical note of Hauschka's enchanting Ferndorf" — MotorBar

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About Hauschka

Having studied classical piano for ten years, Düsseldorf-based pianist/composer Volker Bertelmann's work as Hauschka is based upon a playful exploration of the possibilities of the prepared piano — an adventurous intervention into the preconceived idea of the piano as a pure-toned, perfected instrument simply waiting for a gifted virtuoso to play on it. His resulting tracks are vivid, unconventional pieces made in a spirit of playful research-enthusiasm.

Prior to his involvement with FatCat, Hauschka released two albums on the Karaoke Kalk label — Substantial (2004) and The Prepared Piano (2005). Volker is also a member of Music A.M., a collaboration with Stefan Schneider (To Rococco Rot) and Luke Sutherland (Long Fin Killie); and of the electronic/club tracks duo Tonetraeger, with Torsten Mauss.

Since Room To Expand (2007), Hauschka's cultural stock has increased considerably, based particularly around the revelation of his live performances, including rapturously received support tours in the USA with Múm, in Japan with Colleen, and a debut, sold-out London show with Max Richter.

Where the previous album appeared almost in isolation, Ferndorf arrives with a coherent extended campaign including increased live activity, a digital single and a video triptych by Japanese animators Overture (responsible for Múm's 'Rhubarbidoo' video).

The album title Ferndorf translates as distant village and relates to the small, central German village set in a landscape of valleys and pine forests in which Volker grew up. Living by the forest, with the freedom to fully experience nature alongside his six brothers and sisters, Volker spent nearly the whole day — apart from school — outdoors.

Growing older, the village lost its charm and became for him a boring place, provoking a move to Cologne. Yet in the last couple of years he rediscovered that — alongside his experiences of travelling — everything he is playing today is based on his childhood experience in nature; that the source of his creativity derives from being at the right place in a certain time.

Ferndorf is thus his hymn to that place. All of these tracks are named after very spontaneous impressions from that time, deliberately tinged with a sense of Utopia. So Morgenrot refers to the window of his room which faced onto the rising red sky in summer mornings; Rode Null is a mountain behind his parents' house; Freibad is an outdoor swimming pool in the forest where you can go swimming in the moonlight; Nadelwald is the dark needle-wood which he sled-rode through in wintertime; whilst Weeks of Rain refers to Ferndorf's famously rainy climate.

Recorded between October 2007 and March 2008, all of the tracks and string arrangements were composed and recorded by Hauschka. Purely improvised tracks like Blue Bicycle, Morgenrot, Neuschnee, Alma and Nadelwald were recorded with two cellists, Insa Schirmer and Donja Djember. The rest were recorded with overdubs from Schirmer on Cello and Sabine Baron on Violin, with additional assistance from Bernhard Voelz on trombone.