He continues to be everywhere including bafflingly in Tangerine Dream with whom he has produced a new album to be released later this year. He has, though, never quite lived up to the promise of his first two records but this his 5th LP promises a return to the melancholic, atmospheric compositions that stirred us so long ago.
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Serious question. How does one join Tangerine Dream? The last thing I knew about Ulrich Schnauss was that he was a semi successful electronica guy with a couple of good albums under his belt the next thing I know he's in Tangerine Dream. How does it happen? Telephone call? Chance meeting?
Anyway now that he's in Tangerine Dream this is a nice time for the Schaussmeister to release a new record. Our 'everything's ok electronica' expert Ian over there in his corner might disagree but I always thought the first two Schauss records were pretty decent then after that? So so. Maybe I'm wrong but perhaps Schnauss agrees as the press release states this latest opus takes it's cue from his first two albums and the sleeve uses a very similar orange to the cover of 'A Strangely Isolated Place. Opener 'Melts Into Air' does its bit to help with a driving bass line and those warm textures which tell you that despite the imminent destruction of the planet by a toupee wearing madman everything is ok. Just relax. Ulrich will see you through. I wasn't too enamoured with 'Love Grows Out of thin Air' so I've skipped straight to 'The Magic In You' a rather complicated composition which has moments of good in it. The opening sections sound like a perky Boards of Canada but then the whole thing goes in a wholly inappropriate rave direction with vocals. Schnauss is on the mic people. It's like two songs in one, one good, one bad.
In my opinion Schnauss needs to de-clutter. Some of these tracks are just far too busy and are littered with unnecessary squiggles which take away what is still at the heart of his music which is emotionally effecting feel good electronica. 'Wait for Me' has a nice simple melody which grows in all the correct ways like an Aha with Morten Harket's mouth tapes shut and the album has some enjoyable 80s referencing moments. Despite all his best intentions though Schauss hasn't quite re-created the impact of those early records. Instead we get an album of upbeat buzzing electronics with occasional pleasant moments and plenty of cheese.
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