Hauschka with special guest Ólöf Arnalds
Hauschka is the alias of German pianist / composer Volker Bertelmann, who currently resides in Dusseldorf. Having studied classical piano for ten years, his work as Hauschka is based upon a playful exploration of the possibilities of the 'prepared' piano - a playfully disruptive intervention into the preconceived idea of the piano as a pure-toned, perfected instrument waiting for a gifted virtuoso to play on it.
Clamping wedges of leather, felt or rubber between the strings; preparing the hammers with aluminium paper or rough films; placing crown corks on the strings, weaving guitar strings
around the piano's guts, or pasting them down with gaffa tape - his resulting tracks are composed both originally and charmingly. The results are vivid, unconventional pieces made in a spirit of playful research-enthusiasm.
Ólöf Arnalds is
an Icelandic singer and multi-instrumentalist. Classically educated on
the violin and self-taught on viola, guitar and charango, Ólöf’s most
distinctive asset is, nonetheless, her voice. A voice of instantly
captivating, spring water chasteness possessed of a magical,
otherworldly quality that is simultaneously innocent yet ancient
(“somewhere between a child and an old woman” according to no less an
authority than Björk).
While she has been favorably compared with the likes of Vashti Bunyan, Judee Sill and Kate Bush, Ólöf’s approach to making music remains highly individual: playful but intimate; accessible and uplifting, yet deeply personal and suffused with a timeless mystique that goes beyond the puckish inscrutability of her native tongue. Ólöf has also quickly proved herself as a magnetic, utterly self-assured stage performer, reliant as much on screwball humour, vaudevillian charm and even outright bawdiness, as much as the contrasting delicacy of her song delivery.