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Hauschka

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Biography

Düsseldorf, Germany (2004 – present)

Volker Bertelmann is a composer/pianist (born October 11, 1966 in Ferndorf, Kreuztal, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany), who currently resides in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, where he has lived since 1990 after he moved from Cologne. He started releasing music as Hauschka in 2004.

Volker studied classical piano for ten years. His work as Hauschka is based upon a playful exploration of the possibilities of the ‘prepared’ piano - a disruptive intervention into the preconceived idea of the piano as a pure-toned instrument: by clamping wedges of leather , felt or rubber between the strings; preparing the hammers with aluminium paper or rough films; placing crown corks on the strings, weaving guitar strings around the piano’s guts, or pasting them down with gaffa tape - his resulting tracks are composed both originally and charmingly.

Rather than striving for any purist academic perfection, Volker’s playing seems as much informed by modern electronica or Indonesian gamelan as it is by any classical cannon. With the aid of his interventions, the piano becomes as much a machine for generating rhythms as it does for melody. Now and again Hauschka utilises additional, non-piano sounds such as synthesizer, drum machine, electric bass, or other acoustic instruments like vibraphone, strings or brass. His pieces may be seen as small rhythmic sound-vignettes or just quiet ballads which have their roots in east-asian harmonies, the minimalism of Reich, Glass, Nyman, etc., and also in Satie or Ravel.

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