A Strangely Isolated Place is an album that was heavily influenced by the last album I posted as one of my Desert Island Discs. Infact it was because of Slowdive’s lead singer that I first stumbled across Ulrich Schnauss and this album. On Valentine’s Day 2005 Rachel Goswell released a single from her solo album called Coastline and, despite the track already being very close to perfection, was remixed by Ulrich Schnauss. Somehow he managed to make the song melt your heart before the first verse had even started.
The reviews on Amazon that describe his sound as ecstasy for the ears are as close as you’ll get.
That same month I interviewed Slowdive drummer Simon Scott who also kept raving about Ulrich’s work. Therefore I immediately purchased both of his albums, the 2001 debut ‘Far Away Trains Passing By’ and the superior 2003 second album. Whereas his debut was a great electronic debut not dissimilar to Global Communication or Orbital, A Strangely Isolated Place clearly had new influences creeping in. Ulrich had started running his keyboards through guitar pedals and there were vocals present even if they were hidden deep in the mix. Possibly the moment that changed direction for this new sound was his contribution to the Blue Skied An’ Clear album covering Slowdive’s Crazy For You.
In the years that followed the release of his second album Ulrich also picked up stacks of remix work from stadiums rockers like Coldplay and Depeche Mode to smaller artists like Howling Bells and Asobi Seksu. A small claim to fame of mine was being the instigator of his remix of Mark Gardener from Ride’s solo debut, having heard how wonderful his remix of Rachel Goswell was I simply asked Nat from Sonic Cathedral to make this happen… and he did! I remember the night Ulrich delivered the remix and it was played through the PA at The Legion and it sounded wonderful.
Ulrich has since released two more solo albums and two collaborations with Mark Peters of The Engineers. Each album contains special moments but none came close to ‘A Strangely Isolated Place’.
Finally, here’s a clip of when Ulrich played Norwich in 2008, I promoted that gig and it was so nearly cancelled on the night when we could smell gas. Fortunately British Gas came down and said everything was fine with just minutes to spare before we opened the doors to the public. Phew!