Where All Is Fled crawled under my skin after a while. I listened, I liked it, and I listened again. Then I kept listening at work. I looped the album every time I drove. This sound world was burrowing its way inside me for weeks before I realized what was happening. The way this album became one of my favorites of the past year was almost… passive aggressive.
It’s hard to believe I never wrote about Steve Hauschildt before my best of 2015 list. Sure, I mentioned his former band Emeralds, but that was years ago. The thing is, he’s always made the kind of art that felt intrinsically enjoyable, in the shape of sounds I’ve enjoyed since childhood: lush, evocative synthesizer music. I don’t even have to think about what makes this album special, which is why I might have had a hard time thinking of what to write about while I looped it for weeks.
Easily the most mature, layered, and narratively defined release of Hauschildt’s career, these 66 minutes explore every peak and valley of a cosmic landscape brimming with buried treasure. Stars beacon across the tops of this sound, drawing me inward as the liquid ambient tones of the introduction give way to arpeggiated bliss… I’ll admit, this is music that leads me to extreme hyperbole about drifting through space and turning into a laser beam. I can’t help it; the atmospheres are as infectious as the neon melodies.
I’ll say it another way because it’s fun: Whether you’re hitting the hyperdrive switch and watching stars warp like beams around your peripheral vision, or maybe just undulating in a blooming nebula, this is the ideal soundtrack.
It’s also perfect for writing, which happens to be what I do for a living. Please, take this bias with a grain of salt, because you might prefer your music to have more volatility. While I’ve got plenty of time for music that blasts my brain, sometimes the warm drift of tunes like this are all I need.