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Far Away Trains Passing By

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Album Review

Thanks to Far Away Trains Passing By, an all-too-brief record that encompasses tingly breakbeat, icebox-cold electro, and nippy down-tempo, it shouldn't be too long before Berlin's Ulrich Schnauss gets name-dropping of his own in reviews of up-and-coming producers. Within these six tracks, Schnauss earns his comparisons to Boards of Canada and other members of the electronica elite with nary a reservation to be found. It's not only the sheer strength of the majority of these tracks that make the record so enjoyable; the closing and ending numbers neatly bundle everything together, giving it the feel of a concept record without any of the pretensions. From the sun-kissed "Knuddelmaus" to the contemplative "Molfsee," it's a quicksilver spin through an expansive terrain of lush melodies, atmospheres, and beats that alternately jab and tickle. While the paramount "Molfsee" is the easiest point of reference as far as the Boards of Canada comparisons are considered — with its moody beauty so close to the duo's "Everything You Do Is a Balloon" it isn't funny — it also beguiles with a melody so spangly that it'll have you running for your Cocteau Twins records to find which song it most resembles. There's only one gripe to be had, and that's the used-up-since-1990 beat that permeates "Nobody's Home," the only track that doesn't work. Otherwise, this is a fine record that should have instant appeal to academic IDM types and melody-lovers alike.

Customer Reviews

went for bjork came home with a schnauss

i recall going to iceland to catch a bjork hometown show (december '01) and finding myself in the lovely record shop '12 tonar'. this shop boasts two levels- the above held the jazz, classical and mainstream and below, the electronica of your dreams. you would be given an espresso and led down a spiral staircase where a fellow would 'interview' you-- basically asking what you were into and what types of sounds you desired. i was assigned a stack of cds and led to a couch where i could listen to the music to my heart's filling. i have to admit, the doctor's consulation was spot on because i tore away from the store with a new palette of sounds i never would have found all at once like i did that one evening. i was led to stunners by Opiate, Mum, Sigur Ros and some talented fellow by the name of Ulrich Schnauss. 'Far A way Trains..' was the sonic memento that no amount of postcard or home video could ever hope to match. the music not only transports me back to my brief stay in reykjavik but it feeds my mind's eyes with heavenly visuals, the warmest of feelings and the calmest of thoughts. Cheesy to some i'm sure--- but truly one of the greatest finds of my life. i'm happy to see it re-released and available in america for the first time. happy listening.

So you'd like something beautiful...

The perfect album for winter... ethereal, and very, very pretty. Take one part Boards of Canada (but honestly not as smart or complex), one part Cocteau Twins (sans vocals), a lot of older New Order (think Sugar Tax) a pinch of Nick Drake's aesthetic and a hint of something new. The melodies are easily accessable, and the production relatively simple, but <oh> the music itself! Chord progressions and melodies/harmonies are carefully chosen, and the engineering, while stark, is very clean and quite haunting. This is an indy film producer's wet dream for a soundtrack. It will be your quiet accompaniment when you need to be alone and inspired.

A favorite mood enhancer

Listening to this collection of songs always puts me in a wonderful, reflective mood, and often prepares me for the day's work, or is just a great way to spend some free time. If you enjoy very crisp, jazzy, space-jazz influenced tunes, but with a funky, almost trance beat, and with fantastic electronic sound, you really should give this a listen. Anyone who really appreciates tunes like Porcelain by Moby, or many of the really cool funk tracks by Portishead, I think would get a great deal of pleasure from songs like Passing By and Nobody's Home. If you are looking for a more exotic mix, with a bit more of a mystic and eerie quality, I would recommend downloading the tune Molfsee.


Born: 1977 in Kiel, Schleswig Holstein, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A somewhat mysterious producer from Berlin, Germany, Ulrich Schnauss debuted under his own name in 2001 with Far Away Trains Passing By. Released by City Centre Offices, the album seemingly came from nowhere and wound up on several journalists' year-end favorites lists, impressing many with a beguiling level of charm that referenced the shimmer of the Cocteau Twins and the beat mining of the Black Dog. Released in 2003, A Strangely Isolated Place, which was much closer to shoegaze than U.K. techno,...
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Far Away Trains Passing By, Ulrich Schnauss
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Customer Ratings