Ulrich Schnauss: A Long Way to Fall (2013)
Updated: Apr 21
Much more than ambient abandonment
I first discovered the ambient sounds of Ulrich Schnauss back in 2004 when I returned to University for my teacher training. It was the beginning of the end for independent record shops and in my hometown of Derby, Reveal Records had other plans to go on and form a record label after the success of Joan as Policewoman’s superb debut album. What was missed was the intimacy of such a shop where I had discovered the beautiful, mesmerising tones of Ulrich Schnauss’ second album, A Strangely Isolated Place. Aside from his effortless use of poetic titles that accompany his songs, they are no doubt titles that are carefully considered. It wasn’t long before I had hunted down his debut, Far Away Trains Passing By and was equally blown away by his unique sound. Last year’s wonderful collaboration with fellow Engineers’, Mark Peters on Underrated Silence has been followed very quickly with his fifth ‘home’ album, A Long Way to Fall. This is electronica at its finest as we are immediately reminded of those fingerprints of tinnitus sounds interlaced with further harmonious subtleties – where we return to classic Schnauss in the opening track, ‘Her and the Sea’ and continue with themes of rejection and resentment through the title track, ‘I Take Comfort in Your Ignorance’ – a piece of music that has the heartbeat of strong percussion resonating throughout a distortion of overarching synth sounds. ‘Forgotten Birthday’, ‘Borrowed Time’, ‘Ten Years’ and ‘A Ritual of Time and Death’ would go on to suggest that Schnauss may have experienced recent heartache or is simply delivering a powerful message that only instrumentals can evoke. The album is beautifully formatted as a book – no more than a collection of garden sheds photographed in stark neglect and abandonment. Subtle ambiguity to say the least…or simply one man’s notion to escape – without a doubt, Schnauss accomplishes that every time.
You can listen to an updated 2019 version of the album A Long Way to Fall - Rebound on Spotify.
This post was first published on February 22nd 2013.