In the run up to the release of their debut album on 06 November,hd hausmann present this video for ‘Old Satellites’, produced and directed by short film and documentary maker Nicholas Jones. His film 57degrees North – a poignant insight into the traditional island lifestyle of John Jo MacDonald, a 67 year old fisherman received official selections for many global film festivals, as well as winning Nicholas the Cinematographer of the Month prize for The Monthly Film Festival. His latest short film, A World For Her, is screening at the London Short Film Festival.
“Upon listening to and reading the lyrics for ‘Old Satellites’, I was struck by the idea of a person trying to grasp back control and I decided I wanted to represent this with the idea of loneliness in contrast to solitude. These days we rarely get a chance to be alone and appreciate the benefits of solitude. We are inundated by information, technology and people, feeling lost when we don’t have access to the world through our phones or social media. Our everyday lives can be overwhelming, seeking out solitude could be a path to understanding ourselves and others.
This film juxtaposes images of claustrophobic crowds against isolation in nature, in an attempt to analyse that no matter how many people are around us, if we don’t know ourselves, we are ultimately alone.” Nicholas Jones
“I liked the idea of a band going under a moniker that could umbrella them as a single individual”, says LP, the primary songwriter behind the geographically disparate group hd hausmann. “I wanted to create ambiguity and a certain amount of anonymity”. The name itself is an amalgamation of different influences working in different disciplines such as A.E Housman, E.E. Cummings and S.E. Hinton as well as the architecture of Georges-Eugène Haussmann who gives his name to the boulevard where Marcel Proust wrote most of In Search of Lost Time.
If the name seems like a melding of genres and platforms it’s only because that’s emblematic of the music itself. Sonically it draws from a vast range of influences, from the synergy of Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld’s recent collaborations, to the textural explorations of Philip Jeck and Yellow Swans, the songs of Micah P. Hinson and Angel Olsen and to those who blur the lines between soundscape and structure, such as Grouper. It’s the latter that hd hausmann find themselves most comfortably occupying, weaving between dense, layered atmospheres that fill the record like a moorland mist, to formed, song-based compositions that allow LP’s deep, looming vocals to rise to the surface and carry the tracks. “I got into this project via the route of soundscape and noise music. I’d been making some very basic noise tracks under the moniker of ayppl”, LP says, “and I wanted to try and bridge the gap between the drawn out soundscapes and more traditional song.”
By distorting the lines between structure and ambience, vocals and silence and phrase and melodic antipathy it has allowed the group to operate within a vast experimental space and whilst, “almost everything has been done in isolation”, it allowed LP to bring in a series of musicians from across the country to contribute to the album’s palate. Drums by RH in London, backing vocals/keyboards by AS in Manchester, random horn players found online, experimental piano parts played by JH without having heard the songs
themselves; and when the whole lot was finally finished, it nearly broke LP’s computer, so he passed it onto SD who mixed the whole thing and laid down the bonding glue.
Lyrically the songs are intentionally straight forward.“For the most part, lyrically they were a little more simplistic than anything I’d done before, perhaps less abstract and more to the point. This could be because they came from snippets of poems I’d written down over time and when looking for melodies just tried a few to see what would fit”. There’s a recurring theme of water that crops up in the song titles too. “I’ve always liked the ocean as a timeless existence. When you can only see miles of ocean you have a viewpoint that could be anchored to any point in the history of time – kind of. I find such expansive images to be quite evocative and they also reflect well against the soundscape floor of the backdrop. ‘An Island Without’ was written in particular as a response to Joan Eardley’s paintings of the sea. I found them to be unlike anything I’d seen before, and upon reading about her life she came across as such a wonderful inspiration.”
The album, released on an ultra limited edition run of 20 vinyl, will come in hand painted sleeves, with each one being unique. For now it remains a recorded project as none of the musicians have ever been in the same room together, but this may change in the future. What this album has done however, is kick start the project into life as a properly functioning musical outlet. More new material is already being written with gusto. “My main plan for the end of this album is to finish the second one. It’s already written, as is the majority of the third one. It’s just finding the time to get them recorded.