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. 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. Domino. 2005.
Ulrich Schnauss is a German electronic artist who is influenced by forebears like Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk--but unlike retro-space artists, he doesn't sound like he just emerged from their dusty studios after being marooned there for 30 years. Instead, his synthesizers bristle with contemporary electro-rhythms, a bit of New Wave romanticism, and melodies you want to last forever. Schnauss has perfected a balance between quiet yearning and joyful heroism in his music, with sweeping major-chord progressions that are triumphal without being ostentatious, expansive without being pompous. For someone who is so rhythm-centered with crackling snares and electro-glitches, it's ultimately the melodies that draw you in, turned on glistening, bell-like timbres and space-organ sustains. Far Away Trains Passing By
is actually his first album, released in Europe in 2001, but it's been out of print and is being issued in the United States for the first time. The reissue comes with a bonus CD that includes six pieces pulled from various Schnauss side projects and tracks that didn't make the original album. Far Away Trains Passing By
is electronica with a melancholy soul, and it has lost nothing in the intervening years. --John Diliberto