Hauschka: What A Day
Earsugar Jukebox

Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory: Broaden A New Sound
Earsugar Jukebox

Static: This Morning Without Waking
Earsugar Jukebox

Easy to fall in love with these three Earsugar Jukebox singles, not only for their sweet 7-inch, 45 rpm single format but for their even sweeter contents. The first pairs Nobody (Elvin Estela), who dropped superb hip-hop psychedelia on last year's And Everything Else, with Mystic Chords of Memory (Chris Gunst and Jen Cohen) for two almost unbelievably pretty songs. Conjuring the sunniest of West Coast vibes, “Broaden A New Sound” breezily floats honey-dew singing over a lightly swaying Rhodes-kissed base. Acoustic guitars pluck as delicately as harps while vocals dreamily whisper and beats tangentially reference hip-hop. Recalling The Beach Boys at their Surf's Up best, the slower “Memory” works the lonely wail of a harmonica into its hypnotic voice and piano lines (love the tremolo guitar and chimes too). Let's hope their upcoming full-length Tree Colored See makes good on the promise of this single.

As indebted to the Cage- and Cowell-inspired stylings of the recent album The Prepared Piano, Hauschka (Volker Bertelmann) gently strums the piano's inner strings during “What A Day” while voicing the prettiest of jubilant piano melodies. On the B side, the undulant “Femme Assise” is even more fragile, a ponderous reverie of melancholy trills and stately ruminations, with this time the instrument's percussive potential explored in the form of accompanying clicks and rustlings. Though it's two songs only, the captivating disc will definitely appeal to fans of Hauschka's previous work, Goldmund's Corduroy Road, and Max Richter's The Blue Notebooks.

Hanno Leichtmann (aka Static), producer of wonderful City Centre Offices discs like last year's Re: Talking About Memories and 2003's Flavour Has No Name, now adds an Earsugar 7-inch to his CV. Pretty yet aggressive, the A side's buoyant “The Morning Without Waking” interweaves a brilliantly illuminated five-note motif with the simplest of piano lines over an insistent tick-tock pulse and huge synth bass while a wheezy, melodica-like synth melody muses over a percolating tribal base in “Searchingly.” The two instrumentals sparkle as brightly as anything on the full-lengths. Like the other singles, Leichtmann's offers an enticing introduction to the artist's work (or re-acquaintance with, depending on the listener), an appetizer just substantial enough to leave one wanting more.

April 2006