sat 18/11/2017

CD: Ulrich Schnauss - A Long Way to Fall | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ulrich Schnauss - A Long Way to Fall

CD: Ulrich Schnauss - A Long Way to Fall

Berlin’s sonic explorer takes the familiar to new heights

Ulrich Schnauss' 'A Long Way to Fall': so much more than modern mood music

The last proper Ulrich Schnauss album – there have been collaborations and pseudonymous outings since – was going to be hard to top. Goodbye, released in 2007, breathtakingly took shoegazing further out than ever before: although gossamer, its sonic depth inexorably pulled you in. Now, with A Long Way to Fall, the Berlin producer and remixer has finally returned, solo, under his own name. He’s moved on, but is as assured as before.

Some of the collaborations between then and now took Schnauss into techno and drum & bass, elements of which cross over into A Long Way to Fall. Initially, the album evokes his Berlin predecessors Tangerine Dream (especially Atem) and outings by their former member Klaus Schulze – both solo (1975’s Timewind comes to mind) and with Ash Ra Temple. There are smidges of The Orb, and odd flashes of the rave comedown of “Higher Than the Sun” by Primal Scream. But just as Goodbye took the familiar to new heights, A Long Way to Fall does the same.

The music of Ulrich Schnauss is defined by a chilly beauty. Mostly instrumental, the album sounds lovely: a choirboy soprano could soar over “Like a Ghost in Your Own Life”; the title track will no doubt end up accompanying long tracking shots of snowy wastes. The chugging guitar of “I Take Comfort in Your Ignorance” might have broken the spell, but soon merges into a pulsing configuration that would have laid waste to Ibiza in the Nineties if those soundtracking it had visions even more widescreen than seemed possible back then. More than modern mood music, A Long Way to Fall is the crest of a sonic mountain that hasn’t previously been explored quite so thoroughly.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch the video for the title track from A Long Way to Fall

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