- 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. Three years later, he's emerged with his most distinctive record to date, Where All Is Fled.
Hauschildt's first solo triumph, 2011's excellent Tragedy & Geometry, was more free-flowing kosmiche than a comprehensive statement. In contrast, Where All Is Fled is unmistakably infused with intention. The record is imbued with a noticeably darker hue from the start, wrapping widescreen orchestral chords in thick layers of astral mist on opener "Eyelids Gently Dreaming." And Where All Is Fled rarely strays from the serious tone. The appropriately titled "Arpeggiare" weaves prickly synth patterns atop muffled piano before transitioning into a solemn melodic coda. "In Spite Of Time's Disguise" fits a handful of contemplative melodies between shifting layers of buoyant keys and muted chords. "The World Is Too Much With Us" pulls charging arpeggios out from a dense bed of synthetic strings.
Hauschildt's transition to slightly darker—and, at times, vaguely symphonic—sounds proves to be an excellent framework for his compositional strengths. Both in Emeralds and as a solo producer, Hauschildt has always been adept with touching melodies. A keen sense for natural progression makes his pieces continue to stand out from many ambient contemporaries. Hauschildt is also more confident than ever with his hardware: the almost entirely beatless record can be somber and deeply contemplative, but never icy. Where All Is Fled's tones are consistently rich and warm, slathered in reverb and delay without overwhelming the details.
At almost 70 minutes, Where All Is Fled may take a few unnecessary detours across its 14 tracks, but it's ultimately Hauschildt's most cohesive work. Here, he's matched his well-established talents as a composer of cosmic ambient with a new depth of artistic direction.
01. Eyelids Gently Dreaming
03. A Reflecting Pool
06. Edgewater Prelude
07. In Spite Of Time's Disguise
08. Where All Is Fled
09. The World Is Too Much With Us