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Ulrich Schnauss 

Goodbye (Domino)

Wednesday, Oct 3 2007

Ulrich Schnauss' Goodbye sucks like the last three Star Wars sucked. Not because it — or they — suck suck, but huge CGI battles and technical stunning have replaced recognizable characters and coherent story lines in the name of progress.

Faraway Trains Passing By, the ethereal beatmaker's first record, conjured a shoegazer preciousness with deadpan hip-hop beats and patient, pulsing songs that percolated to life with the charm of Moby's Play and the swooniness of Sigur Rós. Goodbye, on the other hand, sounds like a Vangelis tribute record.

Schnauss would probably take that as a compliment. His press release boasts that some of Goodbye's cuts have more than a hundred tracks. Could've saved a bunch of 'em by sampling Lush's Gala because it sounds as if that's where he got the tinkle guitar for "Never Be the Same." Schnauss' beats seem like an afterthought behind all the delay-addled guitars and gauzy vocals, themselves buried behind the effects and soundtrack-y seismic bass shifts. "A Song About Hope" is most like old-school Schnauss, but with its constant shimmers and shimmies, it has nowhere to go. "Medusa," an attempt at Spiritualized-esque blues-bliss-drone, comes off sounding more seasick than rocking.

If Faraway Trains is Schnauss' "Love Me Do," Goodbye could have been his Sgt. Pepper's, but it's more like a Magical Mystery Tour — or Revenge of the Sith.

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Hobey Echlin


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