Ulrich Schnauss was born in the northern Germany fishing port, Kiel, in 1977. During his formative years he grew a love for a broad spectrum of music ranging from My Bloody Valentine to Tangerine Dream, Chapterhouse to early bleep & breakbeat tracks. There was not much opportunity to see some of his musical heroes in Kiel, so the inevitable pull of the big city meant a move to Berlin in 1996, by which time, Ulrich’s musical output had already become prolific, with a variety of pseudonyms (most notably View to the Future and Ethereal 77) veering from techno to drum and bass via electronica.
These earlier works were soon catching the eye of Berlin electronica label CCO who took up the story. It came a bit of a regular thing, those anonymous packages sent to us from Berlin with a single CDR, a biro scrawl revealing at closer inspection the simple stamp ‘Ethereal 77.’ Ulrich had been making music for years, producing, touring, piecing together that BIG sound. And yet each of these CDR installments revealed something a little more personal.
Soon these submissions to CCO developed into Ulrich’s first album under his own name entitled Far Away Trains Passing By, which, as it slowly seeped into people’s consciousness, became an electronic classic. Listeners were taken with the lush instrumentation and the emotion of the elegant, simple and beautiful music.
Yet nothing was to prepare his growing army of supporters for this next record, A Strangely Isolated Place, which slowly came together during 2001 into a record that really showed some of Ulrich’s youthful indie influences. His debut album under his real name established his pedigree as an outstanding electronic composer, but somehow he managed to take it further by developing his interest in songwriting for electronic music, born of his love for such giants of the independent world as My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields and Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie. From this humble conception comes forth a record of surprisingly rare emotional power.
A Strangely Isolated Place has become one of those extraordinary and rare occurrences; a genuinely word-of-mouth record slowly growing in stature by virtue of its over-riding ability to deliver more than the usual arid and academic treatises on the state of the synthesizer, or solipsistic bedsit meanderings.
“When you’ve worked with computers and keyboards for a number of years, they become not so fascinating of themselves anymore. I gained in confidence after people began to discover Faraway Trains and it hasn’t really stopped since then. This time I decided not to compromise on what I wanted to do, with what I thought people might want me to do.”
The results are an oddly retro- futurist record, which owes more to MBV’s Loveless or Vangelis’s Bladerunner soundtrack than Ulrich’s computer peers. It sounds all the better for it. Since the release of both albums Ulrich has been asked to work with and remix a host of artistes including: Pet Shop Boys, Mojave 3, Longview, Johannes Schmoelling, The Zephyrs, Lunz (Rodelius), etc. New album “A Long Way To Fall” came out in early 2013, and is to be followed by a UK, European, and US tour.