Ulrich Schnauss

A Long Way to Fall

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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.

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