Haunting piano music from German musician Volker Bertelmann finds us in the echoing concrete pits of Philip Glass's cinematic scores (easy to imagine this record replacing Glass's music for Candyman
) but with the muted driving pace of minimal techno, placing this record alongside Dawn of Midi's Dysnomia
or a more subdued version of Nils Frahm's Spaces
. Like DoM, Bertelmann plays a prepared piano in the Cage-ian tradition, stretching the limits of the ways a piano can sound. Like Frahm, he augments this altered-acoustic structure with subtle electronic effects. Compositionally, the record is caught somewhere between the two, with none of the arpeggiated soaring of Frahm but quite a bit more abstract that DoM's poly-lock-precision. Returning to Glass, this is tense, melancholy mood music, fitting of the anonymous abandoned city from which the album derives its name. Keep in mind that this is Hauschka's eleventh album. He's been doing this for a while and knows what he's doing. I imagine that with this increased U.S. exposure, we may hear Bertelmann's music populating film scores some time soon.