Ulrich Schnauss Far Away Trains Passing By Review

BBC Review

Ulrich Schnauss has created a bit of a minor masterpiece with this six track album of...

Olli Siebelt 2002

An office favourite around here for almost a month now, this new full length from Ulrich Schnauss hasn't left our stereo pretty much since since the day it arrived, and with good reason. Infusing the emotional intensity of classical compositions from J.S. Bach or Ludwig Van Beethoven with the electronic warmth of Richard James or Global Communication's more ambient work, Ulrich Schnauss has created a bit of a minor masterpiece with this six track album of unprecedented beauty.

Hailing from Berlin, this 24 year old composer has been releasing a few records here and there over the past few years. Pushing out drum and bass under the names of Ethereal 77 and View To The Future, his output so far has been notable enough, but hindsight really can't really prepare you for the lushness of this new release.

Simply put: Far Away Trains Passing By is elegant, simple and beautifully refined ambient techno. These melodies aim straight for the heart and capture it, embracing you in a dance of pure bliss that will have you spinning around the room like a whirling dervish.

One of the things that's so immediate is that Schnauss's creations ebb and flow without a single glitch or DSP effect in sight. The production here harkens back to the pre-glitch days of IDM or experimental electronica; a time when people composed tracks rather than simply tweaked them. Still - it would be folly to say that this is dancefloor friendy. The beats here are pretty thin on the ground, and while they offer just enough quantization and swing to give just the right amount of momentum, they simply pale in comparison to the lush orchestrations and tonality of the melodies. Schnauss it seems, it simply incapable of writing ugly songs.

Our German friend may not have the catchiest or trendiest of names, but rest assured, if the man keeps pumping out albums like this, he may very well be crowned king of the IDM scene in 2002. Quite frankly, this is one of the most stunningly beautiful releases of the year and now that I've finally got my review copy back from the greedy vultures here in the office, this baby is staying right where it belongs: In my office stereo.

If only more musicians would be doing stuff like this, the world would certainly seem a much brighter place. Without question, one of the most impressive releases we've heard in quite a while.

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you choose to use this review on your site please link back to this page.