A Strangely Isolated Place
City Centre Offices
Schnauss’s slow building fusion of his many younger musical interests – Tangerine Dream-derived ambience, Robin Guthrie’s work in the Cocteau Twins and the impact of My Bloody Valentine and the shoegaze that followed – reached an early point of apotheosis with his second album under his own name. With Judith Beck on vocals and Paul Davis on guitar, 2003’s A Strangely Isolated Place became a foundational electrogaze release, blending blissout with soaring synths, shuffling and pulsing beats and a sense of aiming towards the infinite.
Schnauss’s second solo album from 2003 continued the hazy, dreamy, gently euphoric/bittersweet electro-synthgaze aesthetic established on his debut, pushing a little further into actual swooning shoegaze intensity on tracks like the soaring, extravagant, synth epic On My Own. A Letter From Home’s chord and melody combination manages to conjure nostalgia and homesickness at the same time and there’s a similar sense of the emotions of travelling and arriving throughout this album, a progress to the looping chord sequences, a feeling of movement to the gently unfurling synth textures and restrained synthetic rhythm tracks.
Monday Paracetamol, Gone Forever and Clear Day eschew beats entirely in favour of sonic luminosity, constructed from shimmering and shifting layers of intricately programmed synths. Overall it’s an expansive and emotive, pretty and poignant electronic album.