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Electronic - Released April 3, 2020 | Scripted Realities

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Thanks to Far Away Trains Passing By, an all-too-brief record that encompasses tingly breakbeat, icebox-cold electro, and nippy down-tempo, it shouldn't be too long before Berlin's Ulrich Schnauss gets name-dropping of his own in reviews of up-and-coming producers. Within these six tracks, Schnauss earns his comparisons to Boards of Canada and other members of the electronica elite with nary a reservation to be found. It's not only the sheer strength of the majority of these tracks that make the record so enjoyable; the closing and ending numbers neatly bundle everything together, giving it the feel of a concept record without any of the pretensions. From the sun-kissed "Knuddelmaus" to the contemplative "Molfsee," it's a quicksilver spin through an expansive terrain of lush melodies, atmospheres, and beats that alternately jab and tickle. While the paramount "Molfsee" is the easiest point of reference as far as the Boards of Canada comparisons are considered -- with its moody beauty so close to the duo's "Everything You Do Is a Balloon" it isn't funny -- it also beguiles with a melody so spangly that it'll have you running for your Cocteau Twins records to find which song it most resembles. There's only one gripe to be had, and that's the used-up-since-1990 beat that permeates "Nobody's Home," the only track that doesn't work. Otherwise, this is a fine record that should have instant appeal to academic IDM types and melody-lovers alike. © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Electronic - Released December 6, 2019 | Scripted Realities

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Electronic - Released April 17, 2020 | Scripted Realities

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Ulrich Schnauss' second record for City Centre Offices moves away from the early-'90s U.K. techno touches of Far Away Trains Passing By in order to zero in on another early-'90s U.K. phenomenon. Though it was plain to hear in the debut that Schnauss had an affinity for the likes of Chapterhouse and Slowdive, it didn't become the crux of his sound until his version of the latter's "Crazy for You," from Morr Music's 2002 Blue Skied an' Clear compilation. Schnauss' version of the song was so dead-on that it could've been released -- without any suspicion -- as a Chapterhouse remix of the original. Though it's just as reliant on the past, A Strangely Isolated Place is an even stronger record than the debut, with a wider range of moods, improved beat programming, unobtrusive vocals, and an overall effect that is less inhibited. "On My Own" could've been the most blissed-out and forward-looking song released on Too Pure in 1992, with a steady Neu!-like rhythmic thrust and sun-bleached guitars shooting equal amounts of blurry rays and fuzzy shards. "Clear Day" is another track that could double as a Chapterhouse remix of Slowdive, only with an outtake from the first singles sped up significantly and bolstered with an energetic hip-hop beat that comes close to being lost in a dense swirl of effects. Schnauss might still be a little too sweet and amiable for most "serious" electronic music followers. That's clearly their loss, as this is the cream of the new-school shoegaze crop. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Ambient - Released April 23, 2021 | Azure Vista Records

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Electronic - Released April 10, 2020 | Scripted Realities

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On Ulrich Schnauss' third album Goodbye, he gently fades away from Boards of Canada style breakbeats and deep into a shoegaze slumber that drifts gently into an ethereal realm slightly reminiscent of Enigma, Ultravox, and at its most lush moments, Enya. Yes, Enya, but maybe only if she were to be produced by Kevin Shields. Breathy keyboard pads are at the forefront and this results in a more sleepy retro vibe derivative of '80s new age, which might be the trouble with this record. On previous albums, Schnauss seemed to be evolving into his own futuristic style of beat-making, but here the excessive layering seems to be a step backward, with less focus on the rhythmic IDM and electronica aspects, and more on the expansive soundscapes. The entire disc is washed out with a Tangerine Dream meditative lull that would fit perfectly as the soundtrack of a melodrama; perhaps if David Lynch made a lighter, happier version of Twin Peaks about characters addicted to Vicodin. Regardless of the genre shift into this sedated state and a lack of beats in the foreground, these songs are undoubtedly moving, and some of these tracks are among Schnauss' most structured and wonderfully cosmic. The epic "Medusa" and "Stars" have swelling vocal lines that swirl slowly with a fuzzy sheen as the soothing wall of sound builds to a climactic wash, and the overall result is a much fuller, dreamier sound, with a massive dosage of ambience. Turntablists will likely be disappointed with this style, but think of it as a change of scenery, of Schnauss' departure from electro to ambient. It's a tranquil journey that feels somewhat like an attempt to re-create the magic of Loveless using software and keyboards instead of guitars, and although it doesn't feel quite as fresh as A Strangely Isolated Place, Goodbye is striking and rewarding in its own way; it just might take a little more time to sink into the murky new agey abyss. © Jason Lymangrover /TiVo
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Ambient - Released January 22, 2021 | Azure Vista Records

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Electronic - Released April 3, 2020 | Scripted Realities

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Ulrich Schnauss has never been afraid to embrace the new age side of his sound. Even on the albums like 2007's Goodbye, where he went almost full-on shoegaze with plenty of guitars, there was always a softness to the synth textures, and a gentle touch to the melodies, which were soothing, to say the least. On his 2013 album, A Long Way to Fall, Schnauss has fully embraced the new age aesthetic of creating background music perfect to have on while relaxing or getting a foot massage. Though there are some guitars on the album, they are muted to the point of invisibility, and the beats that creep in now and then are polite and almost loping. When you add synths that sound out-of-the-box fresh and arrangements that are scrubbed so clean you could eat from them, you get a listening experience that's so chill you may forget you are listening to anything at all. There are a few moments where things pick up a bit of steam and an impression is made (the slow build up of the title track, the almost insistent tempo and slightly jagged synths of "I Take Comfort in Your Ignorance" to name two) but mostly the record cruises by in a quiet whoosh of tightly manicured sound that is easily forgotten. While it makes for pleasant music to have on while you are sleeping away the afternoon in a cubicle or fighting insomnia late at night, the album is something of a letdown for anyone who, not unreasonably, came to it expecting something a little more interesting from Schnauss. © Tim Sendra /TiVo
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Electronic - Released April 17, 2020 | Scripted Realities

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With No Further Ahead Than Today, German electronic musician and producer Ulrich Schnauss designs a lush, sunny world that, in some ways, harkens back to the style introduced on his acclaimed early albums Far Away Trains Passing By and A Strangely Isolated Place. Though not nearly as sparsely arranged as the former, nor as shoegaze-oriented as the latter, these nine new tracks conjure up a similar blanket of warmth through Schnauss' artful layering of textures and rhythms. His first solo release since 2013's darker hued A Long Way to Fall, it also bears some amount of influence from new age masters Tangerine Dream, the seminal German electronic collective of which he became a member in 2014. Schnauss has always had a knack for creating scenes of aural escapism, arranging dense stacks of shifting synths over slowly-evolving rhythmic grooves that often don't offer an easily locatable lead melody. Opener "Melts Into Air" follows this tack, building in subtle ambience before introducing the beat and chord structure, then applying layer upon layer in an expansive crescendo over the course of its six minutes. Other songs, particularly the ones with vocals, veer a little closer to melodic EDM like the standout "The Magic in You" and the epic title track that comes in at just under seven minutes. There is plenty of complexity in the way Schnauss builds up his tracks, but like much of his work, it's up to the listener how they want to experience it. As a fully absorbent headphone experience, there is plenty to uncover, but like its title suggests, No Further Ahead Than Today works just as well as a mindful, almost meditative experience. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Electronic - Released January 1, 2017 | Bureau B

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Electronic - Released January 1, 2017 | Bureau B

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Ambient - Released September 24, 2021 | Bureau B

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Ambient - Released April 2, 2021 | Azure Vista Records

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Ambient - Released July 2, 2021 | Bureau B

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Electronic - Released February 11, 2013 | Scripted Realities

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Ambient - Released August 13, 2021 | Bureau B