Volker Bertelmann brings the disparate influences of his youth together on a creepy concept album
Düsseldorfian Volker Bertelmann has always had disparate influences. A Chopin recital provided a musical epiphany when he was nine years old, while his first band was a long-forgotten hip-hop duo formed with his cousin. These interests collide on Hauschka’s bracing concept album ‘Abandoned Cities’, formed of ghostly odes to fallen municipalities we humans have left behind. ‘Elizabeth Bay’ – a deserted Namibian mining town – is one such terrain, surveyed here with prepared piano, frenetic rhythms and spooky swathes of delay, while ‘Sanzhi Pod City’ is as alien as its derelict UFO-like houses. ‘Thames Town’ – a Chinese metropolis nobody moved into – is so creepy you can hear the rats chewing through the wires.