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  Far Away Trains Passing By  
  Ulrich Schnauss  
  City Centre Offices  
Release Date:
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Ulrich Schnauss creates lush electronica. I wish i knew more about Herr Schnauss, but the only info i found on him was a site in German which i didn't bookmark, so i can't tell you anything at all about the guy. Well, except that he makes good catchy tunes.

The music on this EP (a debut? i don't know...) consists of mellow keybaord riffs, drum loops, and more keyboard parts layered on top. The parts are slowly layered together as the songs progress. I can determine two types of songs: those that start with the keyboard melody as their foundation, and those that start with the drums as their foundation.

The EP's first two tracks start with the keyboard. Knuddleaus has a lovely piano sample and a happy hiphoppy beat. Between Us And Them features an amazingly catchy beat under several layers of chiming keyboards. Blumenwiese Neben Autobahn also starts with keys, then adds a really groovey drum beat. After a few minutes, the song breaks down into some almost Kraftwerk-y bleeps and blips on the top.

On the other hand, ...Passing By actually begins with a fuzzy casiotone style drum beat, which is buried under luscious keys and plodding bass beats. Despite being foudned on a drum loop, this is the EP's mellowest track. track 5 starts with and is dominated by a grovey drum loop that is so catchy it is worthy of Dj Shadow. Yo, i am sure someone raps over this beat, somewhere.

Molfsee stands out on it's own and fits neither of the two formulas. It begins and ends with the relaxing white noise of rain. I really like that sound, and it makes this the EP's most relaxing track. It also features Schnauss's only vocal sample: something fuzzed out and buried in the mix.

Overall, even though the songs tend to blend into one another, it's a great EP. The keyboard melodies are plentiful, stacked several deep, and quite fun. The drum loops are catchy.

In fact, what's so great about this EP is that it improves on the rich keyboard sound of Boards of Canada or Miles Tilmann by adding really funky hiphoppy drum beats a la DJ Shadow. It's a brilliant idea and Schnauss pulls it off admirable.

So if you like any of the artists i have named, you should definitely track down a copy of Far Away Trains Passing By .

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