on 27 June 2007
As a devotee of Far Away Trains and A Strangely Isolated Place, I had hugely high expectations, and was always going to be easily disappointed. And initially I was. I didn't initially feel the quality and mesmeric atmosphere of the prior albums. But then I played it some more, then played it through a proper soundsystem (earphones don't do it justice), and some of the tunes started to speak to me. Then other tunes started to catch me, and then others, and now the whole album has the same capacity as the previous albums to transport me away. It takes a bit of time, but give it that time.
on 18 August 2007
Like others who heard this early,I was a bit disappointed,after the towering brilliance of A Strangely Isolated Place (possibly album of the century.I kid you not).But I shouldn`t have worried. Ulrich is the absolute master of layering textures like this. It`s like taking drugs without the drugs.Some have complained of having difficulty listening to or playing this. Here`s a tip.Get a good quality sound system,turn it up,and listen again. This album has been played so much,the only competitor being the equally brilliant "Boxer" by The National. But that`s a different story......
Ulrich Schnauss has always specialized on sweeping, ghostly wintry electronica, the sort of thing that gives you tundra dreams.
Technically, you can only do that so many times before people start getting tired of it. But in "Goodbye," he explores some new sounds -- Britpop meldings, ambient sweeps, and some truly epic explorations into a strange new electronic world.
It opens with gently ringing synth, which practically smothers the gentle beats and a murmuring voice that never quite forms words. Call it angel electronica. The second song is something of a stumble -- Schnauss collaborates with Long-View, in a song that sounds like a merry-go-round of stoned vocals.
But then with "Stars," he erupts into a a tightly wound melody that slowly builds to a messily epic crescendo. From there, Schnauss mingles new work with old: sleepily ambient electronica, haunting fuzz experimentals, angular creepy electropop, and more soaring epics like "Song About Hope."
It ends with a sort of mellow acoustic guitar that slowly melts into a soft synth tune... and what sounds like a musician cleaning up and leaving the studio. It's a suitable ending to what sounds like a transition album, as if Schnauss is feeling out what he can do other than sleepy electronica.
And somehow, without giving it a jumbled feel, he succeeds -- you can hear some drum machines and piano buried down there, and there's a flicker of ringing guitar in places, giving the nebulous melodies some solidarity and helping build them up.
But the overriding presence is synth. Synth, synth, synth. And here's Schnauss's real skill: he molds them into soaring epics, windblown stretches, fuzzy twists, and -- in "Medusa" -- elaborately twisted dark explorations of just how far you can push a complex melody.
Ulrich Schnauss explores some new territory in his third full-length album, the hopefully unportentous "Goodbye." But we just said hello!
on 25 May 2007
I'm not a reviewer generally speaking, i'm just a musician and a fan of music. All of the things we've come to expect from Ulrich's meticulous songwriting/composing/programming are evident and in top form on this album. Besides that it shows a really personal and spiritual side to his music that perhaps hasn't been as upfront in his previous work thanks to the addition of more prominent vocals on this release. The entire album holds up with nary a weak spot. A bonafide masterpiece from someone I feel is one of the most earnest and sincere (not to mention hard working) electronica artists making music today. Ulrich Schnauss' music has always been entirely about the music. And this album is yet another testament to his dedication to this pure and beautiful ethos.
on 24 May 2007
This album demands time - trust me on this.
Initially too obvious, the album seems to swim around the synths and blips that we have come to expect from Ulrich without much conviction and doesn't quite hit some of the highs that he has previously reached; indeed the standard he has set in his past works will never be reached.
But if you allow Mr Schnauss some time with this new album you will begin to appreciate its underlying beauty. Browse through the tracks impatiently in search of another blumenweise or paracetamol and you will not find one; give time and attention to the individual tracks and they will find you, eventually.
on 12 September 2007
OK, before I even start, I don't like this as much as the earlier albums. Yes, it's the even more obvious vocals, (they always seemed unnecessary before anyway), and yes, to me, it seems that rather than using all the brilliant influences that he has had in order to create his music, to create his own brand again, he has simply copied more accurately, to the detriment of the album as a whole.
But, I'm not going to continue to be negative about this, and the reason is simply that no one in recent times has created such beautiful music as this person, and there are tracks on this album that I would pay 10 times the asking price for on their own, some of which being the opening "never be the same", "einfeld" and the title track itself. Genius.
Overall this album should be considered as a tiny blip, in a very wonderful musical landscape created by Schnauss. Anyone reading this should give serious consideration to listening to anything from the first albums, far away trains, and a strangely isolated place, you won't regret it.
The five stars are given without any second thoughts, because of the brilliance of the composer. Just buy, sit back, listen, and wonder what on earth you've been missing.......
on 20 October 2007
Having heard a lot about Ulrich Schnauss through his remixes and select tracks on records I have bought, I thought I would give this one a go and see what it was like. I have to say I was not disappointed, particularly as I listened to this album to break my new headphones in.
The album smacks of lovely rumbling basslines, soft synth lines and acoustic guitars over the top and breathy vocal performances, all with a large helping of reverb to finish, creating a great collection of soothing tracks to listen to. Personal favourties to unwind or to listen to at night are "Einfeld" and "Shine". Alternatively, there are always the more upbeat tracks that recall some arty synth-electro (I mean this in a good way!) that really get things going, such as "Stars" or "Medusa". There is certainly something for everyone here, if you can stand the overused reverb sound that categorises the whole album.
If you like Ulrich Schnauss, then I'm sure this is a decent follow up to the standard of records he has put out before. As for me, I followed up my interest and got his debut album "Far Away Trains Passing By" on the strength of this album.
on 5 August 2007
To start with I am a massive Ulrich Schauss so like many of the the recent follow up albums which have disapointed me recently (Chicane, Unkle)I was really hoping that Ulrich wouldnt be the third to disapoint. 1 month on I am still captivated by his lush sythns. I agree with one of the previous reveivers that there are parts of this album that can be difficult to listen to, my cd player has real trouble dealing with the breakdown at the end of `Stars`. Crutially this album still has the distinctive Schauss sound although he has added a few more vocals which gives the album a deeper sound and draws it more closely to the likes of enya/enigma/sigur ros.
5/5 without a shadow of doubt. I crave more ulrich schnauss...
on 15 March 2008
I was pleasantly surprised by the introduction of this album, so very different from his previous ones. This album proves this artists ability to create something extremely different sounding from his previous composition style, which in my opinion is not only daring, but shows versatility and adaptability.
If you have any concerns about the sound quality to this album, listen to it, without listening for lyrics or following expectations, and allow yourself to enjoy the feeling it creates.
To me, what is comforting is the ability to NOT have to worry about lyrics as all the songs seamlessly merge together - I have a feeling this artist may purposefully obscure some of his lyrical messages so that we can create our own associations, and he may do the same with his music, so that we can imbue our own selves into the experience of listening to this album.
What I find fascinating about this artist is his exceptional ability to convey emotion through his music, which few artists can really do. They may be technically brilliant, but they may lack the conveyance of feeling. This album is all about feeling.
The 'distortion' that is commented on in previous reviews is in my opinion characteristic of the music genre and also the influences that have made this genre possible, and not a result of this artists production potential.
I don't feel this album is about proving his digital mastery, but is actually a personal exploration of newer music avenues. The fact that he could layer hundreds of pieces of his songs into one song is quite incredible. Give his other collaborations with other reputable artists a listen, and you will understand this man's versatility.
And now we are really treated to an introduction to Ulrichs fine vocal talent with an incredible vocal range. Slow and deep, this album unfurled more of the mystery of life and love.
I have a good feeling that Mr Schnauss's career will continue to rise, as he is indeed a true magician, and if you listen deeply enough, you will hear he is a generous soul with a myriad of surprises up his sleeve.
This album is like a friend to me, soothing, realistic, reassuring and strong. Thanks!
on 12 July 2007
I have been a schnauss fan since the far away trains album, and have been captivated by his ability to create such powerful tracks from, at times, such simple melodies.
The second album, A strangely Isolated place was even more awe inspiring and was and still is one of the most magical electronic albums I own. So it was with much anticipation I waited when I heard of this album, especially with a title such as this (does it truely mean the man is leaving us?)
This album still holds a similar magic and you can still hear the amazing producion that has gone into it. However there is a but with this album, and im afraid its a big one.
This album is the first to include 'proper' lyrics of a sort with what seems to sound like different vocal talent included. The sound is similar to the 'vocals' on the track ON MY OWN from strangely isolated place. The differences being on that track they weren't really lyrics because the vocals where so effected you couldn't really hear what was being said (or at least I couldn't). Also the so called lyrics on ON MY OWN wheren't presented as being the most important peice of the track. They where there all right, but they didn't take away from schnauss's music.
On goodbye the lyrics are the most important thing it seems. Gone are the powerful melodies, gone are the amazing abilities with rhythm, as most of this you can no longer hear as the vocals just crash over everything. The sweepy pad and powerful affected synth noises are still there but the vocals really do take centre stage.
Thing is I can say one thing about the vocals, breathy reverse reverb. With the same technique being used on nearly every track. Personally I find this detracts from the rest of the magic that is clearly there, it seems to have just been sidelined.
Another weird thing I have noticed is the poor eq'ing of the higher frequencies. Some of these songs actually give me a headache! Dissapointingly I can't even blame it on my stereo as it seems no matter what equipment I play this album through I end up with the same problem.
This all adds up to a rather dissapointed schnauss fan who expected so highly of this magical artist, only to discover a poor almost unlistenable album that really is nowhere as good as his previous releases.