Sinking in "Quicksand"
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 05/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Finally, Ulrich Schnauss is coming back. The electro-shoegazer artist has a new album coming out, and in anticipation of it, has turned out a "Quicksand Memory," which mingles his customary shimmering electronic expanses and dreamy ambient melodies.
It kicks off with "Look At the Sky," a shimmering wintry song that constantly expands in a flurry of ringing guitars and murmuring female vocals. It's a bit like listening to angels in a rainstorm, which becomes a thunderstorm in the lo-fi-ish, melodiously chaotic "Medusa."
Then it's back to the mellow soundscapes in "Gone Forever," which sticks to ambient electronica and some gentle cycling guitars, never quite going anywhere. And finally there's "On My Own," a rather peculiar mixture of wavering, creaking synth and meandering melodies and vocals. It always sounds ready to go where somewhere, but never does.
Basically "Quicksand Memory" exists to whet the appetite for Schnauss's next full-length album, which is going to drop pretty soon. And it does what it's supposed to, while showing that Schnauss is sticking to what he does best -- ambient melodies and gentle electro-dreampop, which lulls without becoming boring.
The album is awash in a gentle, smooth, warm wash of keyboard, which can swell out to epic proportions, tremble coldly, or simple ooze along pleasantly like a sonic lullaby. It can even get vaguely scratchy and angular, especially with paired with drum machines and those cycling, echoing guitars. And Schnauss weaves in some soft, murmuring vocals that never say much more than "aaahhhh ahhhhh."
The "Quicksand Memory" EP is a good lead-in to Schnauss's new album, and a good introduction to this electro-showgazer's dreamlike work. Definitely worth hearing, despite its brevity."
Robin Guthrie for the win.
Milo D. Cooper | San Diego, California, USA | 11/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"More than anything, this EP is more proof that virtually no one does shoegazer music better than the Great Master himself, Cocteau Twins' musical genius Robin Guthrie. (Kevin Shields is really his only rival.)
The shoegazer rock movement of the late 80s and early 90s was of a duration too short, thanks mainly to an underappreciative British music press. Fortunately, a handful of musicians never got enough, and have ventured to continue and develop the art. Ulrich Schnauss is a fine artist -- thanks to him, we have the immortal "Never Be the Same" and other very good works -- but with this EP's "Gone Forever" and "On my Own," we hear once again that one of the great wellsprings of shoegazer music is the fruitful master of his domain.
Rob McVey's version of "Look At the Sky" is excellent, as well. All in all, _Quicksand Memory_ is a must-buy for anyone who likes the lazy, melodic, layered, reverberating, cascading sound that typifies shoegazer rock.
First rate stuff!