Arch contemporary synthesist Steve Hauschildt (Emeralds) offers his most affective, rapturous bind of emotive narration and conceptual thrust in Strands, inspired by “the structural composition of ropes” and penned in tribute to the polluted post-industrial landscape of his hometown, Cleveland, OH.
In a smart contrast with the inward-looking dynamics of last year’s Where All Is Fled, this follow-up feels more expansive and panoramic, urged by pangs of nostalgia but, as with the best of his material, Strands is marbled with a utopian futurism that leaves us misty-eyed and hankering for a hovercar just so we can go cruising with this album on.
Coincidentally, this reviewer hails from Cleveland, UK, which is weirdly enough another post-industrial landscape (the original Bladerunner scape), and therefore it’s not difficult to empathise with where Hauschildt’s coming from, both literally and metaphorically, as the indelible impression of heavy industry’s elaborate pipeworks, dichotomous relationship with its natural surroundings and populations, and feel for the ferric tang of rust and decay are all elicited thru his intricate electronic alchemy with synaesthetic effect.
In this regard, Hauschildt’s abstract lattices take on a real sense of meaning for us at least, and no doubt for his legion followers, revealing something like a holographic, grid-like representation of mans impact on nature, and vice-versa; blurring the boundaries between both by allowing gritty distortion into the mix with the sickly sublime fluidity of Same River Twice, the gorgeous Time We Have, and the album’s stunning credits sequence, Die In Fascination, whilst the ambient warp and weft of A False Seeming and the lip-wobbling electro-trance majesty of Ketracel beautifully tie up his thoughts about structural constitution and the malleability of space-time with the clinical aptitude of an environmental physicist modelling possible new futures for those same panoramas.
Highly recommended, like.