Features | Awards

The Plan B Award for Most Tasteless Hacking of an Embryonic Wea Culpa Review Into Year-End Fodder

By Dom Sinacola | 21 December 2008

Hauschka
Ferndorf
(Fat Cat; 2008)








I should have gotten around to this one, but first I wanted to review Fall Out Boy and then it was more important for me to get a coffee and ham sandwich down the street than just finish what I’d already started. After eating, it became imperative to watch Hara-kiri, then listen to “Brothersport” seven times in a row, then memorize “Swagger Like Us” so I can send Clay and Colin texts composed solely of its lyrics now that I have unlimited texting, imperative in itself because this is how I maintain bonds across the country, alright?, effectively, in total, aborting my Saturday. Since you’ve all been so patient, I’ll let slip a spoiler: Ferndorf is on our Top 50, and not having reviewed it, Chet suggested I write an award so we don’t look stupid.

Such is the nature of the Internet’s favorite music and culture e-zine. So, in the interests of full disclosure, and as a preview for David Abravanel’s much more sensible blurb (whoopsee!) here’s what I had, unedited, sitting in our database like some ultra-bastard Oliver Twist begging for more gruel:

“That Hauschka composer Volker Bertelmann prescribes to a method of “prepared piano”—altering the guts of his instrument with bottles, metal trinkets, or assorted detritus, often within the course of a performance—has almost no real consequence in his music. The tones he’s able to concoct, while never pressed to burden the weight of all that forlorn and unabashed beauty that makes Ferndorf so warm and fuzzy, do little to reveal the musician’s methods. Like a Herbert or Benoit Pioulard album, socio-political implications come pre-wrapped by the very oddness of their context, but unlike a Herbert album, the prestige of what-thing-did-what-sound-and-where is never a reveal left to the audience to unpack, decipher, and validate. Instead, Bertelmann’s in the market to satisfy solely himself, and by not concerning Ferndorf with translating the blueprints of a musician’s madness ends up releasing some of the most clearly moving music of the year.”

Then I would have added some stuff about how an unexpected and special intimacy results from not really giving a shit about how Bertelmann affects his piano, as long as “Blue Bicycle” still rattles and “Heimat” still shimmers, and would have, after a bloated series of “perhaps“es, mentioned Lil Wayne.

Also: 78%