Steve Hauschildt

Nonlin

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Steve Hauschildt's first release for Ghostly International, Dissolvi, was one of the most beat-heavy full-lengths he's ever made, as well as his most collaborative effort since the breakup of Emeralds. Follow-up Nonlin was developed in several cities while Hauschildt was touring, and it's one of his more spontaneous-sounding records, making usage of generative systems and granular synthesis as well as improvisation. Some of the tracks are smooth and starry; the trance-y arpeggios of "Subtractive Skies" glide through the night air in a manner similar to Barker's Utility, yet this feels a bit more humid. Other tracks end up falling into a wormhole of mutilated beats and spiraling motion. "Attractor B" starts out tranquil, with serene drifting and comforting pulsations, then gets derailed after a minute, tunneling into IDM-like sequences which rapidly kick and squirm. "Nonlin" is even more jumbled and glitchy; its diced beats are restless but not overpowering, and the refracted melody ends up pushing its way through, revealing the song's sentimental core. On "Reverse Culture Music," Hauschildt is joined by cellist Lia Kohl, whose gentle plucking and bowing mesh seamlessly with the fluidly lapping synths. At the heart of the granular scattering of "The Spring in Chartreuse" is an unmistakable sense of longing and emotional attachment, not unlike Fennesz's best, glitchiest work. Closing track "American Spiral" thrashes and slashes, extinguishing any remaining notion that this is another calming, reflective ambient record. While every bit as gorgeous and inspired as Hauschildt's other albums, Nonlin sounds a bit more alive due to its unpredictability and looseness.

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