Release Date: Sep 25, 2015
Record label: Kranky
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Pop/Rock, Experimental Ambient, Synth Pop
Throughout his tenure as a member of prolific ambient adventurers Emeralds, as well as his concurrent solo work, Steve Hauschildt has never appeared to lack creative energy. However, following the 2012 release of Sequitur, his second Kranky album, the Cleveland-based artist quietly brought that steady flow of original material to a standstill. Whether intentional or not, the break in output appears to have given Hauschildt time to examine his craft.
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.
New Age started as a musical genre with a functional purpose. Long before Mike Oldfield was disguising platinum-selling instrumentals in a shimmering haze of gauze and crystal, the late ’60s were rife with records explicitly designed for meditation and yoga. These slowed down and stretched out tapestries of stoned mantras and synth swells that could seem either embarrassingly chintzy or extraordinarily moving depending on the release.
Steve Hauschildt was always the quiet Emerald. While John Elliott was headbanging away to rhythms that only he could hear and Mark McGuire adopted the traditional grimace of rock'n'roll axemen since time immemorial, Hauschildt stood stock-still behind his synths, like a member of Kraftwerk who had strayed from the assembly line. Since the Cleveland synth-and-guitar trio's 2013 split, Elliott has poured his energies into his Spectrum Spools label's considerable output, and Mark McGuire has put out six or seven new records, some with a considerable shred quotient.
Steve Hauschildt — Where All Is Fled (kranky)Any seasoned music fan will tell you that writing off entire genres after they appear to have overstayed their welcome is a fool’s errand. Still, it seemed safe to do just that this year regarding the overwhelming number of artists and bands who leapt onto the coattails of Oneohtrix Point Never and Emeralds. These followers embraced the new-synth/new-New Age trend of about four or five years ago, invariably without those two acts’ sense of quality control and certainly without making any impact beyond the hipster faithful gathered around the websites of labels like Spectrum Spools and kranky.