Under Review

Ulrich Schnauss

A Long Way to Fall   (PIAS)

by Tristan Koster


It’s unfortunately easy to write stuff off as: “You’d like it, if you’re into that.” The bad news is that A Long Way to Fall is exactly that. The good news is that you might still like it. It’s a change in direction from other works that Schnauss has released under his own name (the last was an EP entitled Stars in 2008), but the German artist has been busy in the meantime with his litany of remixes, collaborations, and things produced. So Schnauss’ work is constantly changing anyway, and the number of genres he’s been assigned to is astounding: synth-pop ambient, and shoegaze, to name a few.

  A Long Way to Fall is a less fuzzy release than Schnauss’ previous solo work. His beats are punchy and strong beautifully pieced together. Instead of droning from one to another, songs echo each other throughout the album, taking on a narrative structure. I don’t think it paid off the way Schnauss intended, though. There’s a long build from the almost serene “Her and the Sea” through the next three tracks. The moody melancholy tone seeps through the rest of the album.

  The height of the album arguably comes in “I Take Comfort in Your Ignorance.” It’s darker, grungier, and breaks the album out of its shell. Unfortunately, it feels like the songs are building towards something, but kind of fade out instead. None of the tracks particularly flop though; Schnauss is a keyboard master and excellent composer.

  A Long Way To Fall is a step out for Schnauss conceptually, an effort to try to do something grander that he hasn’t quite perfected yet. The album is fairly experimental, a little too cerebral maybe, but fans of his work and genre will appreciate it. Interested parties that are maybe not looking for such a commitment are advised to search up Schnauss’ remixes online.