Helena Hauff

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Discreet Desires (2015), 6/10
Qualm (2018), 5.5/10

German producer Helena Hauff, a member of James Dean Brown's electronic improvisation group Hypnobeat, debuted solo with EPs of acid house like Actio Reactio (2013), with the ten-minute Actio Reactio (African-tinged ping-pong beat), Shatter Cone (2014), Return To Disorder (2014) and Lex Tertia (2015), and with the 12-song cassette A Tape (2015),

There is a lot that is trivial and/or derivative on the all-instrumental Discreet Desires (Ninja Tune, 2015), but the gothic undercurrent in the syncopated L'Homme Mort and the slower and comic Funereal Morality show her unusual take on the genre. Piece of Pleasure sounds like the remix of a synth-pop hit of the 1980s, and much of the album works as a bridge between that era, the 1990s of house music and the digital 2010s.

Qualm (Ninja Tune, 2018) boasts the melodic keyboard patterns of Hyper-Intelligent Genetically Enriched Cyborg and the galvanizing crescendo of The Smell Of Suds And Steel. The rest runs the gamut from impressionistic vignette (notably Primordial Sludge) to melodrama (It Was All Fields Around Here When I Was a Kid) via standard dancefloor material like Barrow Boot Boys.

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