David Knight - 13th Mar 2009

Hauskchka is Volker Bertelmann, an experimental pianist from Dusseldorf who creates new sounds from manipulating the complex inner workings of his instrument.

Jeff Desom is a young Luxembourgish filmmaker whose film The Plot Spoiler won best short at Filmprais 2007. Bloksky, his graduation film from Bournemouth Arts Institute (same year) features Hauskcha - in person and his music - which led to this lovely, dreamlike new video for the track Morgenrot from his new album Ferndorf.

Taken from sepia images of early 20th century New York, it is graphically similar to Olivier Groulx and Tracy Maurice's video with Arcade Fire's Black Mirror - particularly as it begins at sea. But it has an enduring motif all its own, with more contemporary echoes.

Jeff Desom on making the video for Hauschka's Morgenrot

"The idea came to me during the late editing stages of Bloksky, the short film for which Hauschka did the acting and wrote the soundtrack.

"It's about a composer who's plagued by a writer's block that physically manifests itself as a bone growing from his skull. For some reason I thought that the image of a burning piano dropping off a building could have served as a recurring dream of this character. Similar to the dream sequences in Elephant Man if you wish.

"I rendered a very short clip in the style of D.A. Pennebaker's Daybreak Express and sent it to Hauschka. By then his music had been deeply engraved into the footage. It turned out he liked it very much and wanted me to make a video from it for Morgenrot.

"The finished animation is mostly made from early twentieth century photographs that I found while browsing through the vast collection of the U.S. Library of Congress. I also used old postcards from New York that I purchased at a flea market in Paris. Most of the time I would only zoom into a tiny portion of the picture and utilise that as my frame.

"The hardest part was to make it look as if it had been pasted together from a lost reel depicting this curious experiment where they'd lightened up a piano and thrown it off a building only to see what would happen. The kind of unnecessary crash test executed under the sole purpose of drooling over the beauty of slow motion."

David Knight - 13th Mar 2009

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