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Ulrich Schnauss

A Long Way to Fall

Ulrich Schnauss
7
After a decade flirting with shoegaze and dream pop textures, Ulrich Schnauss has returned to his IDM roots with A Long Way to Fall. On his first album (fourth overall) under his name in six years, the German producer almost fully focuses on the synthesizer, nearly abandoning the layered fuzz and tempered haze of his last two solo releases, while eliminating the slow-burning, buried vocals of his work with Mark Peters and A Shoreline Dream. Stretching each song past the five-minute mark, Schnauss lets his work gestate on A Long Way to Fall, letting simple, sometimes nonexistent refrains repeat and recur until some sort of unshakable melody is revealed. But it's really Schnauss's choice of drum sounds and patterns that prevent A Long Way to Fall from sounding like a toothless ambient piece, as sputtering beats decorate the haunted "Broken Homes," while a Cocteau Twins-esque, jaunty beat gives "Like a Ghost in Your Own Life" much personality. The fact that A Long Way to Fall stands as Schnauss's best album since his 2003 debut doesn't discount his shoegaze years as much as it validates just how succinct a minimalist he can be. (Domino)

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