Published Sep 02, 2015Helena Hauff's tidy back catalogue is one that's full of raw intrigue and delightfully artless hardware-driven recordings. Simple loops, one-take and minimal editing — therein lies her charm. Since she first emerged in 2013 with the superb Actio Reactio EP, Hauff has used her unadorned techniques to great effect, immediately grabbing the attention of various labels around the globe, as well as being recruited by James Dean Brown for his legendary Hypnobeat outfit.
Though varying in style, Hauff's releases have largely been operating in techno's more shadowy, acid-tinged peripheries. While her first full-length, Discreet Desires, isn't necessarily a complete shift in approach, it's more playground than graveyard, more headphones than sound-system and maybe more soundtrack than dance floor. Discreet Desires is certainly Hauff's most visual release to date, often coming off like one of John Carpenter's better film scores. "Tripartite Pact" conjures a villainous montage, while "Tryst" and "Piece of Pleasure" see our protagonist boldly plunge into the netherworld, recently uninhibited and with allies in tow.
Having said that, the album is not without its club-friendly fare. "L'Homme Mort," in particular. is aimed directly at the nightclub, and sees Hauff combining her trusty 808's non-stop tumble of drum hits with fuzzy, meandering synth loops.
As the whole, though, Discreet Desires is more introverted than Hauff's previous material. She's attempted to present a unified piece with this album, rather than a selection of similar tracks, and it's a gambit that's paid off in spades. (Werkdisks/Ninja Tune)