It’s taken a good 10 years, but we’re pretty certain that Volker Bertelmann’s Abandoned City is honing in on a concept of “perfection”.
Hauschka caught our attention with The Prepared Piano and Room to Expand, intrigued us with Ferdorf, and left us wondering at his potential in Foreign Landscapes, but it will likely be his debut with Temporary Residence that will catapult him into the limelight of modern composition discussion (as if he’s not already involved). Abandoned City is marked by a collection of tracks imprinted with Bertelmann’s signature sophisticated sound, but it’s a new-found confidence in his technique that really makes the nine track set really shine. Nine microphones were employed over the course of the album — six to record the sounds of the piano and three to funnel the recorded sounds through an array of digital effects (delay, reverb, etc) that heighten and enhance the listener’s experience. Bertelmann produces a wide variety of sounds on the the keys, but we neither feel the presence of a larger entity nor feel the pressure to produce a more robust sound. Hauschka tiptoes the line between grace and epiphany, and we’re never left wanting more. This is the sight of a true master of the genre and a landmark for future composers. Abandoned City is here to stay.