Ulrich Schnauss: A Strangely Isolated Place

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  • Music review
Ulrich Schnauss: A Strangely Isolated Place

There was a time when accomplished musicians used the electronic frontier as a means to hone their already perfected craft. A means to compliment the music rather than dominate it. Few bands have achieved this successfully; ELO, The Cars, New Order, Tangerine Dream, Thomas Dolby, Radiohead and Air to name a few. Some have even managed to achieve success as fully electronic collectives, such as Depeche Mode, Art of Noise, Jean Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, and more recently Underworld and The Chemical Brothers.

Unfortunately a large majority of electronic bands over sample and try to be too much like each other, or they conform to standard formulas to simulate commercial success. The problem of course being that commercial success does not guarantee staying power. The Depeche Modes and New Orders of electronic music have been around for more than 20 years and will probably be around for another 20 simply because they choose to ignore the formula. These are the bands that earn our respect.

So where does Ulrich Schnauss fit into all of this? Amazingly, still wet behind the ears in his early 20's, German born and bred Schnauss has managed to produce an album that sounds as if were produced by an older, more accomplished musician.

For lack of a better analgogy, imagine Brian Eno on steroids with a touch of Jarre and you have Schnauss's masterpiece "A Strangely Isolated Place". Eight tracks of ear candy bliss and creative sound scapes.

Opening with the soulful "Gone Forever", a multi layered sequence of Eno-esque synths and bass, Schnauss eases us on our engaging electronic musical journey.

"On My Own" is possibly the landmark track of the album and the most likely contender to expose Schnauss to an audience other than the underground electronic lover. If there was ever a soundtrack that conjured up visions of zooming about the galaxy in a spacecraft, this is it.

"Letter from home" hints of an Art of Noise influence only ever so slightly, but not enough to distract you from its own rightful elegance.

The remaining 5 tracks, Monday - Paracetamol, Clear Day, Blumenthal, In All the Wrong Places and Strangely Isolated Place are all unique in their simplistic beauty and purity.

After only a few listens to A Strangely Isolated Place it is clear Schnauss is nothing short of a musical genius, who will no doubt inspire present and future musicians to come.

Highly recommended.

  • Engaging instrumental atmosphere
  • Unique soundscapes
  • Great replay value and staying power
  • Non commercial

  • Only 8 tracks

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