Ulrich Schnauss

A Strangely Isolated Place (Domino)

It's no sworn secret that the '90s shoegazer icons called Slowdive left an everlasting imprint on Ulrich Schnauss' psyche. Taking his cue from the U.K. group's vast, delayed wall of six-string swirls, textured electronics, and distant vocals, Schnauss has created his own IDM-based parallel universe of the Slowdive algorithm, which was first explored with his dead-on remake of the band's "Crazy for You" on the Blue Skied an' Cleartribute album.

His 2001 debut, Far Away Trains Passing By, ushered in a more technocentric message, but Place unleashes the Berlin native's affinity for guitar pop, trip-hop, and ambient compositions. "Gone Forever" begins in a soothing thunderstorm of sounds: whirling synths, cooing vocals, and cathedral organs. "On My Own" follows in grittier fashion, with muted breakbeats, faux horn blares, and a choir of processed howls, exploding into well-layered, fuzzy electro. "Monday-Paracetamol" and "Blumenthal" are dusted, twilight soundscapes welcoming you back from a self-medicated coma. Slowdive's Neil Halstead might've wandered, without looking back, into the folkier comfort of Mojave 3. But Schnauss has capably carried the sonic torch, marrying the dream-world artifice of software-made music with the man-made reverie of his forbears in epic fashion. -- Kiran Aditham

 
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