Spin - "[B]etween ambulant keyboard work and track titles like 'Anesthesia' and suggest, he's found his soporific sweet spot on WHERE ALL IS FLED -- this is Music for Sleepwalking, in its most gleefully otherworldly forms."
Recording information: Cleveland, Ohio (2011-2015).
Where All Is Fled is Cleveland synth maestro Steve Hauschildt's first solo album since the breakup of Emeralds, the beloved ambient trio he co-founded with Mark McGuire and John Elliott (not counting S/H, a 2013 double CD collection of unreleased material and rarities). The album moves away from the new wave melodies and vocoders of his previous full-length, 2012's Sequitur, and comes a lot closer to the shimmering, arpeggio-heavy soundscapes of 2011's Tragedy and Geometry, his debut solo album on Kranky. The main difference is that Where All Is Fled has a bit more of a lush, dreamy feel to it, with tracks soaked in a little bit more reverb and sounding slightly more suitable for stargazing. Opener "Eyelids Gently Dreaming" layers heavy, shadowy synth washes to spellbinding effect. A few tracks also have clearer, more upfront melodies; moments like the second half of "Arpeggiare" and the piano-driven beginning of the album's title track could easily soundtrack a daytime TV drama. Hauschildt prevents things from getting too sterile by keeping the atmospheres fluid and surreal, constructing dizzying, ear-tickling synth melodies that gracefully shift around the cascading textures. Most of the album feels alive and rhythmic, rather than existing as formless drones, but the only track with an actual beat is "Aequus," which develops a wet, thumping ambient techno pulse; combined with chirping, dripping sonics, it's akin to the Orb at their most magical. "Sundialed" has a simmering Italo-disco-esque bassline, but it keeps cool rather than erupting into a beat. Where All Is Fled builds on Hauschildt's Berlin-school/kosmische influences while exploring new dimensions, resulting in his most immersive, accomplished solo work yet. ~ Paul Simpson