Steve Hauschildt - Nonlin [Ghostly International - 2019]As a former member of legendary psychedelic, electronic pioneers Emeralds, Chicago resident Steve Hauschildt has a reputation for creating interesting and innovative music. His latest album Nonlin represents his 6th outing since he debuted as a solo artist in 2011 with Tragedy and Geometry on the Kranky label. After Emeralds called it a day in 2013, Hauschildt has increased the prolificity of his solo project.
The album gets under way with "Cloudloss", a slice of mellow ambient electronica that gently eases the listener into the album. "Subtractive Skies" follows next, an ambient, arpeggiated Orb infused slice of electronic goodness that oozes class. "A Planet Left Behind" is up next and sticks to the same formula, creating a slick atmospheric ambient soundscape that ebbs and flows like a calm body of water. "Attractor B" starts off as a sparsely populated floaty ambient track before an arpeggiated synth kicks in around a minute and a half in taking things up a notch.
"The Nature Remaining" represents the album’s midpoint, a short, slow moving piece that prepares to usher in the rather more interesting title track, which whilst still quite laid back is most definitely the most avant garde and unusual track thus far. "Reverse Culture Music" has a similar vibe but is more laid back like the earlier tracks on the album. "The Spring in Chartreuse" represents something slightly different, a sparse glitchy style of electronica that may be one of my favourites on the album. The album closer, "American Spiral" is another glitchy title, this time a little more dissonant than previous tracks.
Overall, Nonlin is a pleasant enough listen but it doesn’t do anything we haven’t heard before. At its best the tracks are good solid floaty ambient electronica that do exactly what you would expect from someone with Hauschildt’s pedigree as a musician. The tracks have a warmth and an emotional quality that works well at times, however it all feels a little too similar with the exception of a couple of tracks that mix the influences up a little. Ultimately this probably won’t win him any new fans, but it remains enjoyable enough that most fans of ambient electronica will find something to keep them happy.Darren Charles