Friday, February 17, 2012

Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Peters and the Doozer

Time to catch up on some stuff that's run this week...have to say that being severely underemployed is scary and may not end well, bu t I sure am writing a lot of music stuff.

Anyway, Blurt has my review of the latest from Ulrich Schnauss and Mark Peters

Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters
Underrated Silence
(Bureau B)

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.


All I can offer you is 30 second snippets from Soundcloud

Also, I had a review up of a new album on the Woodsist label by a band (and individual) called the Doozer at Dusted earlier in the week. It went like this:

The Doozer
Keep It Together

A fine, long tradition of British psychedelia finds its weirdness in domestic scenarios. Robyn Hitchcock suns at the beach with his wife and his dead wife. Syd prattles on about his rickety bike to a likely lady. There are teacups on the tables and knitted scarves looped around the doorknobs. Surreality comes as familiar, cozy scenarios warp slightly off expectations.

The Doozer, whose name denotes both the songwriter and his 11-person band, partakes mostly of the comfortable side of this dichotomy. His jaunty, music-hall-through-a-cracked-mirror tunes, his glad-handing, all-together-now arrangements and wobbly voice instantly evoke Barrett and Hitchcock’s whimsical pop. Yet, there’s very little magic in Keep It Together‘s eight compositions, which seem, instead, to take perverse pleasure in the mundane. “There’s nothing much there, there’s nothing much there,” he sings in “Fen Drayton,” amid tipsy piano chords and a slapping, shuffle of snare brushes, and though he’s singing about a rural holiday, he could be talking about his album. A cut later, in “Frank’s Song,” we hear that “Frank has got his milk, it’s a normal day, won’t you say?” Yes, well, perhaps a little too normal?


I'm interviewing Stanley Clarke today who is maybe not the world's most famous bass player (ahem, Paul McCartney), but who is probably the person most famous right now for playing the bass. Wish me luck.

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