Ulrich Schnauss
A Strangely Isolated Place


3.0
good

Review

by rogerdiscoversherpes USER (10 Reviews)
May 14th, 2010 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If M83 is shoegaze played by a robot, Ulrich Schnauss is shoegaze played by a cyborg.

An album doesn't have to be a masterpiece in order to enjoyable. You savour a fine wine, you get paralytic off cheap vodka; both are a pretty good time. Ulrich Schnauss' A Strangely Isolated Place is very much an album in this mould. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the record that warrants paragraphs of ranting, but neither does the album reach any great heights that would place it amongst the jewels of your collection. What we have then in A Strangely Isolated Place is a pleasantly straightforward listen that's easy on the ears and likely to leave a satisfied smile on your face, but which falls well short of engendering any sort of slobbering devotion to the altar of Mr. Schnauss.

Schnauss peddles a brand of melodic electronica somewhere between latter-day The Album Leaf and early M83. And much like the work of M83, A Strangely Isolated Place is a quite blatant nod to the early nineties shoegaze movement, with Schnauss using his Mac to channel the likes of Slowdive and Robin Guthrie. So, instead of wall-of-sound guitars, A Strangely Isolated Place provides us with wavering washes of synth over unobtrusive trip-hop beats and the odd humanising touch to create the same sort of dreamy ambience.

The result of this altered tool-set is that the music produced has somewhat less depth and feeling than that of its muses. Handily, this isn't as damning an indictment as it may at first appear, as the thinner, more veneered electronic sound lends a bit of individuality to A Strangely Isolated Place, with the album presenting itself as light and airy – somewhat more optimistic than the ambivalent introspection of the shoegaze genre. The upshot of this is that the album gradually and subtly establishes its own presence and identity, and after a couple of listens, tracks such as "Clear Day", "On My Own" and "In All The Wrong Places" will burn their way into your soft brain, surreptitiously making the album increasingly more endearing. In its own unassuming way, Schnauss' unassuming music grows on you.

There is much to like about A Strangely Isolated Place. It's not pretentious, it's well-crafted and it's eminently enjoyable. While it lacks that certain something, that secret aural ingredient which provokes a strong emotional response in the listener, such an absence doesn't rob it of all value. Whether favoured as a night-time nostalgic aide or a summer sunset soundtrack, the album has just enough quality and charm to at least carve out its own special nook in your horde of music.



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user ratings (45)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
vanderb0b
May 14th 2010


3473 Comments


Nice review, man, might check the album out

FistfulOfSteel
May 14th 2010


894 Comments


props for reviewing this dude, Far Away Trains Passing By is pretty good.

rogerdiscoversherpes
May 16th 2010


34 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, I'd say this is even better. Again nothing mindblowing, but still good.

Yotimi
October 6th 2010


6570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really diggin this. Anyone who's a fan of early M83 and Cocteau Twins should definitely check this out.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2011


15080 Comments


really good

SeaAnemone
May 22nd 2011


20946 Comments


yeah this was a great rec by rabbit

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

Yotimi
May 23rd 2011


6570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dammit sea i've been recing this for months....atta boy rabbit

wabbit
September 18th 2011


7035 Comments


ya this is one of the most beautiful albums I've ever heard.

bloc
July 5th 2012


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is very solid

mindleviticus
July 5th 2012


8330 Comments


I liked Far Away Trains Passing By better though.

Yotimi
July 6th 2012


6570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

definitely prefer this but both are great

MotokoKusanagi
March 19th 2014


561 Comments


is this a good place to start?

mindleviticus
March 19th 2014


8330 Comments


Yeah this is probably a great place to start. I just have an affinity for the first album. This album's much shorter and easier to grab than the first album.

sixdegrees
June 23rd 2014


17705 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

feels like I should enjoy this more than I actually do

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