Ulrich Schnauss - A Long Way To Fall

Ulrich Schnauss - A Long Way To Fall
Album Reviews

The trick with ambient is that it’s got to sound like it’s about to put you to sleep, not actually knock you out.



Label: Scripted Realities
Released: 21st January 2013
Reviewer: Colm McAuliffe
Ulrich Schnauss converts algorithms into soothing shoegazing electronic utopias. What’s even more worrying is that it sounds like he does this for fun. It glimmers, it shines, it shimmers, it sparkles. And as the adjectives suggest, it’s run-of-the-mill ambient. The trick with ambient is that it’s got to sound like it’s about to put you to sleep, not actually knock you out. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth making the music in the first place - Ulrich seems to have forgotten this with 'A Long Way To Fall', his fourth album.

But it all could have been so different. Schnauss’ debut, 'Far Away Trains Passing By', was a post-[Kraut]rock thing of wonder, as if Tangerine Dream and Slowdive combined to soundtrack Logan’s Run. But eleven years on and there’s little trajectory to Schnauss’ output. In fact, there’s a distinct melodic template to which Schnauss never strays from here. ‘A Forgotten Birthday’ marginally ups the tempo and the pitch of the synths to segue into ‘The Weight Of Forgotten Skies’ before dropping again for ‘Borrowed Time’.

There’s certainly nothing bad about the album; Schnauss is a remarkably adept musician and the production is flawless. But therein lies the rub. Who can empathise with perfection? The beauty lies in the flaws, the imperfections, and 'A Long Way To Fall' is way too immersed in picture perfect punctiliousness for this to make any lasting impression.
Rating: 5/10
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