Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters – Underrated Silence

January 01, 1970

(Bureau B)

 

www.bureau-b.com

 

Composer
Ulrich Schnauss once set himself the artistic goal of translating a shoe-gazers’
aesthetics into electronic context, that is, taking the gauzy indefinite-ness
of, say, My Bloody Valentine and filtering it through a  synthetic palette. Here with Engineers
bandmate Mark Peters, he veers further into miasmas of diffuse sound. Together,
they build atmospheres so light and airy they might float away, except that they are tethered gently to earth with
jangling, clicking, shushing rhythms.  

 

Some of
these songs verge on new age-y crystal-gazing, with their translucent synth
washes and angelically altered voices. There’s too much shimmer and not enough
friction, for instance in “Long Distance Call.” Yet where a bit of minor-keyed
darkness is allowed in, as in “Forgotten,” or where the rhythms turn more
definite, as in prickly “Rosen Im Asphalt”, Schnauss and Peters hit a gorgeous stride.
Best of all, “Ekaterina,” gets its mix of twitch and billow right, setting
bright, twittery cadences atop chilly basso undercurrents. About halfway
through the piece, the two musicians seem to gather all the melodic threads
together, all the shiny sounds coalescing into one triumphant melody. Later, in
“Gift Horse’s Mouth,” the mood turns almost funky as a syncopated keyboard line
skips and hops over dusty layers of altered tone. There’s a sense of play as
well as daydream here, a lightness in the textured sound.

 

Underrated Silence is never less than
pretty, and often strikingly so, yet it lacks the grit that might make these
compositions emotionally involving. You have the sense of walking through a
mist shot through with light, rainbows forming and unforming as you pass by.
It’s a lovely dream but nothing solid. Catch it in your fingers and it melts
away. 

 

Download: “Ekaterina” “Gift Horse’s Mouth” JENNIFER KELLY

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