Ulrich Schnauss’ fifth solo release could be the solid helping of electronica that you’ve been missing. Andy Jones reports…
Kiel-born, London-based Schnauss’s first two albums, Far Away Trains Go Passing By (2001) and A Strangely Isolated Place (2003), saw him become a leading light in the post-millennium resurgence of electronic music. While much of the early 2000s’ electronica output was appreciated for its rich complexity and how broken the beats could be, Schnauss travelled a different and far more melodic course, and got on with producing catchy, dreamy and uncluttered sonics.
Schnauss’s fifth solo release is a double-vinyl album that continues his now trademark formula of rich and melodic electronics which build and swirl from atmospheric beginnings to almost too rich crescendos, consisting of intense layers of synths which likely work wonders live, but on vinyl occasionally peak a mite early and stay a little too long at ‘Defcon 5’. The Magic In You is a prime example – it’s five and a half minutes long but the bulk of the track is so ‘in your face’ that it may have even confirmed fans longing for the more stripped-backapproach used on his debut album.
The title track does introduce some much needed pace to open the second disc – it’s slower with more builds and falls – but by this time you get to that point, you may feel gorged by the sameness of the sounds and pace. For his next set, a quadruple release may be needed, as a more varied pace would allow listeners to fully appreciate the highs. That said, even a less than perfect Schnauss record is still a solid helping of electronica.