Volker Bertelmann is a German composer and pianist who, as Hauschka, uses a prepared piano with little accompaniment to craft delicate minimalist compositions that evoke the otherworldly textures of electronic music through acoustic means.
The term "prepared" refers to the practice of modifying the piano in various ways to alter the tone. In some cases that means placing objects on the strings that buzz and click when he plays, or muffling some strings to cause strange percussive effects. The techniques are generally confined to the world of modern classical music and avant-garde improvisations, both of which inspired this material.
Unlike a lot of experimental music, however, this stuff is concise and accessible. Only one song breaks the five-minute mark, and all of them feature melodies that are strong enough to be appreciated by those who don't ordinarily enjoy the avant-garde.
Hauschka performs Friday (November 2) at the Music Gallery.