Frustrated by the sounds he was making, Volker Bertelmann aka Hauschka, started placing random objects into his instrument. Today, he is at the frontline of prepared piano; sound altered by the insertion of alien objects between or upon its strings, hammers and dampers. The journey that led him into the public sphere began in a different realm, with major label hip hop act God’s Favourite Dog and a drum and bass quintet called Nonex. Still, there are some Hauschka sounds to be found, through the fearless approach of instruments, drawing upon an unusually broad church of influences.
By the age of 18, Bertelmann had already composed his first film score, having picked up a deal with Sony Music in 1994, he spent the next few years rapping and playing keyboards with God’s Favourite Dog. Working in the constellations Nonex, Tonetraeger and Music A.M., he blended post-rock and electronica with significant panache and began to become more and more fascinated with electronic music. Developing a particular interest in stripping down anything that he considered redundant within his compositions, he achieved a similar effect without using electricity at all: through placing objects inside the piano, a new sonic world opened in which he could transform his instrument so that it loosely replicated the sounds of all sorts, like bass guitar, gamelan or the hi-hat cymbal of a drum kit. The combination of HAUSCHKA’s classicist training, chamber music sensibilities and pop-cultural interests ensured that the often playful – but never disposable – results were far more than an academic exercise in experimentalism.
During the last decade, Hauschka’s music has appeared in film, theatre, dance, art, and in various short film soundtracks. Almost two decades after he began his professional career rapping, Volker Bertelmann aka Hauschka, finds himself in the unusual position of being regularly compared to the likes of Eric Satie, John Cage and Steve Reich. Always unpredictable, Hauschka continues to offer only one certainty: that the next step he takes will no doubt be as unexpected as the direction from which he has come.
For Sound of Stockholm’s residence at Kulturhuset, Hauschka will perform a set with improvisations and pieces for prepared piano and take part in the Grammofon talk lead by Curt Lundberg. This concert is presented with help from the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.
Tickets for this show are available through Kulturhuset Stadsteaterns site, which can be found here.