music journalist since 1992 teacher since 2004 blogger since 2012 podcaster since 2020
Reviewed for Under The Radar Magazine:
Ulrich Schnauss A Long Way To Fall (Domino)
You’ll be running to answer your mobile phone repeatedly when listening to the polyphonic ringtone-like chimes of A Long Way To Fall, Ulrich Schnauss’ latest album. The German producer is the champion of shoegazer sound filtered through an electronic sieve. Schnauss also functions the posterboy for the intelligent dance music cognoscenti, and his fourth long-player helps maintain this position. Unlike the majority of IDM, Schnauss’ compositions have a warm elegance to them that soften the angular edges of this minimalistic sound. Reigning in more melody than others of his ilk, Schnauss has that thread running through the wandering string arrangements of A Long Way To Fall. Vocal-free, these shimmering, textured soundscapes don’t need the distraction.
Echoing synthesizers provide the signature delicate string sounds holding the album together. Lush and dreamy are the main characteristics of standout tracks: “Her and the Sea” and “Like A Ghost In Your Own Life.” Schnauss speeds up the BPMs on “Ten Years” and “The Weight Of Darkening Skies” broaching drum ‘n’ bass lite territory, but just barely. These tempo changes escalate to a frenzied pitch on album closer, “A Ritual In Time And Death.” He may employ very few elements, but Schnauss can does a good job in keeping your attention.