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Ambient - Released October 25, 2019 | Ghostly International

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Ambient - Released October 2, 2019 | Ghostly International

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Steve Hauschildt's first release for Ghostly International, Dissolvi, was one of the most beat-heavy full-lengths he's ever made, as well as his most collaborative effort since the breakup of Emeralds. Follow-up Nonlin was developed in several cities while Hauschildt was touring, and it's one of his more spontaneous-sounding records, making usage of generative systems and granular synthesis as well as improvisation. Some of the tracks are smooth and starry; the trance-y arpeggios of "Subtractive Skies" glide through the night air in a manner similar to Barker's Utility, yet this feels a bit more humid. Other tracks end up falling into a wormhole of mutilated beats and spiraling motion. "Attractor B" starts out tranquil, with serene drifting and comforting pulsations, then gets derailed after a minute, tunneling into IDM-like sequences which rapidly kick and squirm. "Nonlin" is even more jumbled and glitchy; its diced beats are restless but not overpowering, and the refracted melody ends up pushing its way through, revealing the song's sentimental core. On "Reverse Culture Music," Hauschildt is joined by cellist Lia Kohl, whose gentle plucking and bowing mesh seamlessly with the fluidly lapping synths. At the heart of the granular scattering of "The Spring in Chartreuse" is an unmistakable sense of longing and emotional attachment, not unlike Fennesz's best, glitchiest work. Closing track "American Spiral" thrashes and slashes, extinguishing any remaining notion that this is another calming, reflective ambient record. While every bit as gorgeous and inspired as Hauschildt's other albums, Nonlin sounds a bit more alive due to its unpredictability and looseness. ~ Paul Simpson
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Ambient - Released September 10, 2019 | Ghostly International

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Electronic/Dance - Released August 3, 2018 | Ghostly International

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Steve Hauschildt's fifth solo album is his most collaborative work since the breakup of Emeralds, the heralded ambient trio he co-founded in 2006. Unlike his other solo works, Dissolvi was recorded in a proper studio, primarily in Hauschildt's new home city of Chicago. Rafael Anton Irisarri co-produced the album and provided instruments, effects, and programming on several tracks, and Taylor Deupree contributed a patch to one track. More noticeable to anyone who isn't reading the liner notes, this is the first time Hauschildt has worked with guest vocalists. The results are a far cry from his 2012's new wave diversion Sequitur, which included his own vocoderized singing. "Saccade" is a gorgeous downtempo ballad featuring airy incantations by Julianna Barwick over lightly trippy beats, and GABI sublimely floats over the gentle ambient techno of "Syncope." The album is by far the most techno-sounding record Hauschildt has created, expanding on previous dabblings such as "Aequus" from Where All Is Fled and the occasional IDM-ish moments on Strands. "Alienself" is a calm, slightly hazy current with a steady, focused beat, recalling the spirit of Selected Ambient Works 85-92 but not aping any of its techniques. "Aroid" is a bit more erratic, with scraping micro-beats that avoid sounding abrasive and leave room for the minimal but significant bass notes. "Lyngr" has an evenly paced 4/4 shuffle and seems straightforward on the surface, but there are many layers of lushly detailed intricacies underneath. The album's closing title track is its most playful, with a fuzzy "splat" sound to the beat and delicately twinkling synth textures, yet there's still an aura of solemn contemplation to the piece. Hauschildt titled the album Dissolvi in order to signify a dissociation with the self, and has described the album's compositional process as quasi-generative. While much of his work seems deliberately, painstakingly crafted, there's still a fluidity and a sense of being guided by subconscious forces. ~ Paul Simpson
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Electronic/Dance - Released March 10, 2017 | Injazero Records

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Ambient - Released October 28, 2016 | kranky

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A year after the sprawling Where All Is Fled, Emeralds co-founder Steve Hauschildt released his fourth solo album for Kranky, a much shorter effort titled Strands. The title relates to the construction of ropes, and the pieces on the album have a similar quality of being loose and amorphous, yet they also hold together tightly. They're largely free of conventional rhythms, but there's a definite flow to them, and they never feel like they're aimlessly drifting. Hauschildt states that the album is also related to "cosmogony and creation/destruction myths." As with other Hauschildt releases, it sounds like it could be a fitting soundtrack for stargazing, but this album has a bit of a rough edge to it. It balances new age slickness with darker, more fearful moments, with a few tracks ending up with waves of Tim Hecker-like distortion. In some ways, it's a bit of a flashback to Emeralds' early days releasing limited cassettes and CD-Rs on noise labels like Hanson Records and American Tapes but with the increased production value and clarity of Hauschildt's later work. The album doesn't dabble in techno or synth pop the way his previous solo releases did, but it does contain "Ketracel," which features pulsating beats reminiscent of '90s IDM. Similarly, "Same River Twice" is fast and busy, with rapid, skittering arpeggios and bubbly textures. "Strands" is slower and more relaxing, with a soft but propulsive flow of smooth, crystalline melodies. "Transience of Earthly Joys" begins with solemn pianos and ends up with shimmering beams of light doused in smoke. The album ends with the dark yet vivid reflection of "Die in Fascination." The album is highly focused and engrossing, and continues Hauschildt's run of nearly flawless albums. ~ Paul Simpson
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Ambient - Released September 25, 2015 | kranky

Where All Is Fled is Cleveland synth maestro Steve Hauschildt's first solo album since the breakup of Emeralds, the beloved ambient trio he co-founded with Mark McGuire and John Elliott (not counting S/H, a 2013 double CD collection of unreleased material and rarities). The album moves away from the new wave melodies and vocoders of his previous full-length, 2012's Sequitur, and comes a lot closer to the shimmering, arpeggio-heavy soundscapes of 2011's Tragedy and Geometry, his debut solo album on Kranky. The main difference is that Where All Is Fled has a bit more of a lush, dreamy feel to it, with tracks soaked in a little bit more reverb and sounding slightly more suitable for stargazing. Opener "Eyelids Gently Dreaming" layers heavy, shadowy synth washes to spellbinding effect. A few tracks also have clearer, more upfront melodies; moments like the second half of "Arpeggiare" and the piano-driven beginning of the album's title track could easily soundtrack a daytime TV drama. Hauschildt prevents things from getting too sterile by keeping the atmospheres fluid and surreal, constructing dizzying, ear-tickling synth melodies that gracefully shift around the cascading textures. Most of the album feels alive and rhythmic, rather than existing as formless drones, but the only track with an actual beat is "Aequus," which develops a wet, thumping ambient techno pulse; combined with chirping, dripping sonics, it's akin to the Orb at their most magical. "Sundialed" has a simmering Italo-disco-esque bassline, but it keeps cool rather than erupting into a beat. Where All Is Fled builds on Hauschildt's Berlin-school/kosmische influences while exploring new dimensions, resulting in his most immersive, accomplished solo work yet. ~ Paul Simpson
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Ambient - Released September 16, 2013 | Editions Mego

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"Its tones and moods are devoutly consistent, yet it’s richly engaging throughout."
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Electronic/Dance - Released November 12, 2012 | kranky

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 14, 2011 | kranky