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If you want to find out the inner workings of a car - you pop the hood, open that lid up and inspect inside. The same applies to getting to know somebody; you tend to feel more connected if you open up and look a little deeper. For German composer Volker Bertelmann, the best of his being happens only once you lift the lid and peek inside - figuratively and literally.

Bertelmann, who performs under the name Hauschka sees himself as a composer and pianist, but it's very likely that others have interpreted his oeuvre somewhat differently. He's now mastered the art of prepared piano meaning that before he performs he places found objects such as bottle caps, tic tacs and plastic necklaces (the inner makings of a corner convenience café) on top of, under and around the strings inside the piano. By outfitting each cord he can create sounds that even the most trained musical ear would presume were coming from an ensemble of musicians playing a selection of instruments. So when the articulation of 'Agdam' hits and the African-arced tempo of 'Thames Town' breathes a beat and you start to feel every pluck of the string sets permeating through 'Who Lived Here', you'd be hard-pressed to believe there are no drum overlays or violin crescendo's - just one man, with one piano.

During his very first concert in Africa at the Goethe Institute in Nairobi he said that "Sound is as important as melody" and it's this simple sentiment that carries the very composition of his artistry. World-renowned composers who have explored the activity of sound before him, help us understand how easy it is to be seduced by that line of thinking. John Cale from The Velvet Underground prepared his piano with paper clips during 'All Tomorrow's Parties' and John Cage (who Hauschka is highly influenced by) pioneered inharmonicity so meticulously that it often felt as though you needed a thesis to better judge his sound impulsion.

The complex way Bertelmann manipulates timbre and cloaks it in indeterminacy is by far its most revealing on his 11th album, Abandoned City, because to paraphrase Leo Tolstoy - a story has the ability to leave a deeper impression if the author's intention is impossible to interpret. I wonder if the auditory illusion of his experimental music, like its cinematic counterpart, often plays with objects of perception more than he intended them to.

The more casual tones found in 2011's Salon des Amateurs have dissipated and even though Abandoned City may lose the attention of a mainstream audience, what is constantly impressive is how Bertelmann brings a certain clarification and voice to what is indisputably ad hoc. Where he excels in digging deeper is on 'Craco' and 'Who Lived Here'. This is where he may gain notoriety from being far less maniacal, craning a deeper more pleasantly subdued moody atmosphere.

Abandoned City is comfortably beautiful between exhales of the lower-key sonority, despite its consistently restrained tempos or the uncertainty as to where an instrument begins and where it ends. This sounds could abandon even the most open-minded listener, but on songs like 'Sanzhi Pod City' he smudges over divisions and punctuates them with bolder moments that feel more than serendipitous single takes. Instead he welcomes the listener to hop on board and engage in the uncertainty with him. You certainly don't feel as vacant as you do on the haunting tracks like 'Pripyat' and 'Elizabeth Bay'.

Ironically, Abandoned City's track titles are based on cities around the world that have been desolate for years. Like 'Pripyat' and 'Agdam' - both cities left uninhabited after Chernobyl and the Azerbaijan war. The technique he uses to silently depress the keys hangs over the precipice of melancholy landscapes and decayed articulation.

Part of the stated intent behind Bertelmann is to embrace sound and music with all its idiosyncrasies and flaws, with every chance experimental composition represents. Abandoned City more than meets these goals, although its most inviting moments come tucked away in the calmer less darker IDM influenced tracks. Similar to laughter, this music doesn't necessarily have to mean anything in order to give us deep pleasure.