Album Review: Ulrich Schanuss / ‘A Long Way to Fall’ (Domino/Scripted Realities)

Ulrich Schanuss A Long Way to Fall

★★★★☆

German journeyman Ulrich Schnauss, peering over the edge with electronica that has been pinned for multimedia crossover, builds near ambiguous reflection doing subdued on a large scale. Shrugging at pervading streaks of light as early as second track “Broken Homes,” his chillout structures push for a wonderment with fire in its belly.

Passing as a pessimist’s release hailing to provocative track titles, Schnauss rules a middle ground between rainy day scratching of an itch and lushly planted apathy, answering no as to whether there’s anything wrong when clearly something is sticking in his craw. Atmosphere hanging both heavily yet reaching out to fluffy clouds on the horizon, both in real and silver screen time, “Like a Ghost in Your Own Life” journeys on an upward ascent of jangly folktronica, happily heading for the hills while turning past psychedelic walls. “Ten Years” sounds most at one with itself, with just that feeling that it could lose its footing at any moment.

The brusqueness holding down “I Take Comfort in Your Ignorance” is too mild to be angry, too jagged to chill. “The Weight of Darkening Skies” lets go of guitar-scrunched fireballs in between bouts of business as usual on the autobahn, and “A Ritual In Time and Death” beds into synth crossfire for a surprising new wave conclusion. In a capricious tender of slate-colored rainbows and cold-water invigoration, Schnauss cathartically forces you to face the music.

File under: Ethereal 77, Engineers, My Bloody Valentine

Matt Oliver