Listen to this article
German pianist Volker “Hauschka” Bertelmann’s 2010 album Foreign Landscapes was a series of soundtracks inspired by places he had visited. Forgotten City gives the theme a gothic spin: it’s about ghost towns.
“Elizabeth Bay”, named after a deserted mining settlement in Namibia, is tense and staccato. “Sanzhi Pod City”, an abandoned futuristic residential district in Taiwan, is full of ghostly dub echoes and stubbornly jaunty melodies.
Percussive noises rustle and click at the margins, produced by objects placed on the piano’s strings and hammers, a disruptive method favoured by John Cage; here the effect sounds have a strange fecundity, like creatures scuttling through otherwise empty buildings.