Steve Hauschildt: S/H (Editions Mego)
Fans of the drippy synth stylings of Cleveland act Emeralds will likely delight in the bounty of former Emeralds member Steve Hauschildt’s sprawling two-disc retrospective. Despite Hauschildt’s origins in the 00s Midwestern noise scene, his introspective synth pieces here owe much more to Terry Riley than Masami Akita. A whopping 37 tracks recorded between 2005 and 2012, S/H ranges in nature from what feel like sketches or impressions to more full-bodied pieces. Not only is there that sense of contrast, but the sound ranges from lush and beautiful (“Familiar Scene,” to more abstract or surreal excursions (“Flatbed Scanner,” “Rapt for Liquid Minister”). In most cases, though, Hauschildt crafts a chiaroscuro landscape of sound, soft-focused but impressionistic. Whether the earlier, more droning fog of “Passing Cars” or the more recent onomatopoeia of “Galloping,” this is music that manages to get under my skin. I made the mistake of initially writing off much of S/H as simple sketches or experiments, but this is music that lingers much like its trails of delay sometimes peppered within. The three-part “Liberty” suite is especially handsome, particularly the gorgeous arpeggios of the second act. “By Buildings” is also gorgeous, a healthy contrast to the grittier sputter of a piece like “Flyswatter.” His more recent material (showcased on the first disc) is my personal favorite, although the set combined really demonstrate his versatility as well as his growth as an artist.