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Ulrich Schnauss
A STRANGELY ISOLATED PLACE
(Domino)

German electronica producer Ulrich Schnauss released this modestly mesmerizing album in Europe in 2003 to great acclaim among future-music aficionados. The 28-year-old artist elicits an impressive array of otherworldly tones and textures from his keyboards and computers: "On My Own" has queasy smears of backwards guitar that Radioheadís Jonny Greenwood would appreciate; "Gone Forever" features a solo by what sounds like compressed oxygen escaping into deep space; "Clear Day" tweezes the aggression from a standard hip-hop boom-bap and reassigns it to a digitized choir murmuring menacing oohs. The Europeans made a big deal out of Schnaussís alleged ability to wring honest-to-goodness songs from all this sliced-and-diced detritus, but outside the electronica hothouse, that seems a bit of an overstatement. Schnauss does manage the occasional wisp of subĖSigur Rós melody, but the albumís pleasures still reside in the minutiae of its form, not in its fist-pumping function. And though earnest Cocteau Twins fans may hear the evidence of celestial heartbreak in his carefully constructed synth fluff, that doesnít mean itís there.

(Ulrich Schnauss joins Signal Path and M83 this Tuesday, April 12, at the Paradise Rock Club, 967 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston; call 617-562-8800.)

BY MIKAEL WOOD


Issue Date: April 8 - 14, 2005
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