Steve Hauschildt: Tragedy & Geometry

That Steve Hauschildt is a member of Cleveland trio Emeralds seems especially apropos in light of the blindingly radiant tone of his synthesizer-heavy opus Tragedy & Geometry. If there's a single word to capture the album's sound, it's luscious, as Hauschildt's thirteen tracks, regardless of differences in style, shimmer with a resplendent gleam that captivates the ear. His recording draws upon the synthesizer legacy associated with artists such as Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Cluster, and Klaus Schulze and sits comfortably alongside the work of others (Oneohtrix Point Never comes to mind) equally intent on breathing new life into the form.

After the luscious overture “Polyhymnia” (a direct reference to the painting Polyhymnia, Muse of Eloquence by French artist Charles Meynier) establishes a suitably grandiose point of depature, the jubilant swing of “Batteries May Drain” adds a krautrock dimension to the music's kosmische musik character. All manner of ambient vignettes (“Cupid's Dart”), bubbly meditations (“Already Replaced”), and neo-symphonic excursions (“Peroxide,” “Allegiance”) appear within Hauschildt's pulsating collection, not to mention moods ranging from brooding (“Arche”) to transporting (the ethereal “Overnight Venusian”). In many cases, sequencer patterns provide rhythmic drive while silken washes offer a soothing counterpoint, and while eleven minutes of percolating synthesizer music might sound like too much of a good thing to some, in Hauschildt's hands “Music For A Moire Pattern” is never anything less than enthralling. Though there is an underlying concept driving the project, specifically the idea that in becoming more accessible technology's growing ever more disposable, one is free to ponder the album's theme during the work's hour-long run or ignore it altogether and simply exult in the lustrous electronic visions Hauschildt brings into being.

December 2011