Helena Hauff

Discreet Desires

Werkdiscs • 2015

Laptop music is no more. Since we’re living in a world in which half the people share their most intimate moments with their phones, there seems to be a kind of backlash, a coming of a new age: The return of the haptic, of young musicians who operate hardware rather than software. The producer Helena Hauff from Hamburg is one of them, preferring to work with analogue classics such as the TB-303 or the TR-808 manufactured by Roland. Instead of programming her music on the computer, she improvises live, working her way through club music’s history. For her debut, she followed old Detroit heroes like Drexciya who supposedly recorded their releases in jam sessions with similar gadgets. But »Discreet Desires« also bears stylistic parallels to the formerly unknown duo from Detroit: on top of rigid funk from drum computers, a meshwork made of synth-lines unfolds and releases somewhat extroverted melodies, other influences gravitate further to EBM. If Helena Hauff wasn’t so passionate about her music, one could think that she was merely doing some genre exercises. Instead, the energy deriving from the spontaneity does Hauff’s tracks many favors, even though not every idea turns into brilliant track structures. But that’s a mere trifle. I’m sure James Stinson would have been proud.