The story of hd hausmann (all lowercase, a la e.e. cummings) began as an enigma.
If you were to search for this artist online when they first released music in 2015, you wouldn’t find a list of bandmates or producers—only a hauntingly beautiful set of tracks: their first album, Wring the Moisture from the Surf.
This anonymous, relatively unheralded endeavor was later revealed to be a project of Liam Palmer from the British band Grass House.
“I quite liked the idea of just putting music out without the surrounding noise so people can just care about the music,” Palmer said in an interview with What the Sound.
When listening to hd hausmann’s single “a modern weight,” it is easy to see why Palmer wanted attention focused solely on the content of the track. This song is essentially hd hausmann’s greatest hits compiled into a singular piece of art. It captures the all-surrounding ambient noise, the experimental percussive layers, and the optimism inherent in the folk-inspired sound hd hausmann first introduced with Wring the Moisture from the Surf, without sounding like a carbon copy of these initial works. Rather, it is a beautifully layered refinement of the dark magic hd hausmann has mastered throughout their discography.
Much in line with hd hausmann’s mysterious beginnings, “a modern weight” opens with an ominous ambient noise—an enormous sound that captures what I imagine looking down on Earth from space must feel like. It’s altogether beautiful and chilling.
This abyssal yet weightless dichotomy is a common thread throughout “a modern weight,” as this dark ambiance quickly gives way to a hopeful, summer camp-esque whistle and acoustic guitar melody, providing a rather sanguine foundation for hd hausmann’s poetic reconciliation with the weight of the past and its grip on the present.
Palmer has frequently mentioned that he draws inspiration from poetry—the influence of which is clear throughout “a modern weight.” Beyond the basic poetic meter and cadence found in “a modern weight’s” structure, this track is littered with layered nuances both lyrically and sonically that, like a thoughtfully constructed poem, are only discovered upon repeated review. A crooning horn, a sci-fi synth, and a symphony of disparate percussive elements are but a few of the notable hidden treasures within this track.
Yet, above all of this experimental noise stands a narrative with its own immense depth. In just over three minutes, hd hausmann confronts the albatross that is one’s past, calling it out for what it is—an undesirable yet incessant weight on our present.
Always felt much heavier
when the weight fell to the coloured earth
and we came like our rolling dice
fell still upon a growing tide
hd hausmann later takes a brief repose from this burdened thought, repeatedly stating nothing’s ever born unkind as if to say that although our past experiences may make us feel as though the world is a cruel villain, intent on inhibiting our present, everything is ultimately rooted in the good. “a modern weight” seems to insist that altruism persists in the world and in our own lives despite the weight and growing tides we may encounter.
Overall, I find “a modern weight” to be an encouraging tale that isn’t naive to the damning power of one’s past but nevertheless asserts that it is something that can be overcome. By triumphantly calling out this gripping entity, as supported by a backing melody that is startling in its enormity, hd hausmann encourages listeners to feel more powerful and comfortable with letting go of their past. After repeated listens and an analysis of the poetic lyrics, I can confidently say that only one enigma remains: why didn’t I discover the lyrical poet, hd hausmann, sooner?