ULRICH SCHNAUSS + RICHARD NORRIS + BUNKR – ST. LUKE’S CHURCH, BRIGHTON 25.03.22
Tonight’s performance was always going to be a special one! How often is it that you get to see a (former?) member of Tangerine Dream performing live in a wonderful church in Brighton?
Note the earlier question mark! You see there seems to currently be some debate as to whether German electronic music composer Ulrich Schnauss is in fact still a member of Tangerine Dream or not. He joined their ranks in 2014, but of late it is up for debate as to whether he is still amongst their ranks. The Brighton & Hove News Music Team were fortunate to witness Tangerine Dream performing live in Brighton literally two days earlier at the Chalk and Ulrich was not with them. Is this because of this current solo tour that he is embarking on or is it because he has left? Maybe someone out there can clear this up? No doubt many of you reading this review will also want to read our report on the Tangerine Dream concert, so click HERE and enjoy.
Back to this evening’s event which was organised by local promoters Melting Vinyl with the assistance of multimedia artists Innerstrings. Being set within the cavernous walls of St. Luke’s Church, which is located at the heart of the Queen’s Park area of town, we were most certainly in for an acoustic masterclass. The church itself is a listed building and was designed in the 1880’s by Sir Bloomfield in the early English architectural style. It has been given listed building status because of its architectural importance. Bloomfield incidentally was the president of the architectural association in 1861.
This evening was filled with the joyful balance of electronic sounds bouncing around the impressive columns and high amongst the church rafters with the addition of an accomplished visual experience of stunning effects by local visual artist ‘Innerstrings’ from Lewes, certainly gave me a night to live long in the memory.
Tonight’s headline act Ulrich Schnauss first came onto the scene in 2001 with the sublime ‘Far Away Trains Passing By’ album which showed more of the rawness with occasional guitars and female vocal chords in comparison to tonight’s sweeping ambient affair. His earlier work has led him to be compared with acts like ‘Cocteau twins’, ‘Slowdive’ and ‘Chapterhouse’.
Tonight the parishioners that arrived early were well watered as there was a pop-up bar serving the likes of Harvey’s and wine. The faithful then grabbed a pew and were sent on their merry journey by an opening set from Brighton based musician and producer James Dean, who is now renowned for his zoned out house music and bubbling melodic techno as BUNKR.
BUNKR became a happy accident back in 2017 and the hypnotic crawling techno and pastoral Kraut-esque electronica has contributed to the highly lauded ‘The Isolation Tapes’ compilation album, which was Electronic Sound magazine’s compilation of the year in 2020. James Dean recent live shows have seen him playing alongside Soccer96, Thomas Ragsdale, Leafcutter John and Alex Banks.
His second album ‘Graveyard Orbit’ was released in October 2021 and took his sci-fi techno approach deeper into the electronic cosmos, thematically providing reflections on man-made waste and our own longevity. Or as one reviewer summed it up, “a dazzling, tone-rich journey that captures the moments when life ends and the story just begins”.
BUNKR was a good choice for the opening act and set the tone for the evening’s entertainment. You can find BUNKR on Bandcamp.
Next up was Richard Norris who is a London based record producer and songwriter. He has a deep and broad history spanning decades of dance and electronic culture. Electronic Sound magazine calls him “the electronic musician’s electronic musician”, whilst Time Out New York referred to him as an “unhinged sonic magician”.
He started in music at a young age, playing in post punk bands and releasing seven inch singles that got the attention of John Peel at the BBC. He then worked as label manager for psychedelic reissue label Bam Caruso, before co-producing one of the earliest UK acid house compilations, Jack The Tab, in 1987. This led to a deal with Warners as the Grid, his partnership with Soft Cell’s Dave Ball. The Grid enjoyed a run of successful albums and ten UK hit singles, including the million selling ‘Swamp Thing’. The Grid also produced and remixed many artists, including Brian Eno, Yello, Erasure, Happy Mondays, Pet Shop Boys and many more.
Richard’s broad ranging musical knowledge has been applied to many projects. He formed a solo psychedelic project, the Time and Space Machine, and has remixed many artists under that name, including Tame Impala, Warpaint, Ibibio Sound Machine, Noel Gallagher and many others.
He was also one half of acclaimed and influential psych duo Beyond The Wizards Sleeve, alongside Erol Alkan. The duo remixed acts including the Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp, Franz Ferdinand and Tracy Thorn.
In recent years, Richard has concentrated full time on a series of ambient and deep listening releases on his Group Mind label. Many more are planned, as is a return to the live arena with a new audio-visual show. Tonight, he got the younger audience dancing in the aisles in a 90’s dance-hall rave style.
Find out more at www.mrrichardnorris.com.
Ulrich Schnauss is a purveyor of timeless cinematic dreamscape electronica. He was born in the northern German seaport of Kiel, and his musical output began under the pseudonyms of View To The Future and Ethereal 77.
As mentioned above, his first album was titled ‘Far Away Trains Passing By’ and was released in Europe in 2001 on Berlin based CCO (city centre officer). This was followed in 2003 with ‘A Strangely Isolated Place’ and his third album ‘Goodbye’ (2007) was released on Independiente Records in Europe and on Domino in The United States
Further releases include amongst others EP’s ‘Quicksand Memory’ (2007) and ‘Stars’ (2008), albums ‘A Long Way To Fall’ and ‘No Further Ahead Than Today’ on PIAS records.
Louder Than War has referred to his work as “Music that touches the soul of the listener in a profound way” and this was the case at St. Luke’s Church tonight, where the music was comparable to his early ‘Tangerine Dream’ work, with the sounds and various graphical urban and space effects within his compositions, but at the same time somehow were being brought forward into the 21st century dance scene. Thus as a result, Ulrich was most certainly connecting musically with the younger members of tonight’s audience who were chanting his name in the aisles whilst dancing. The older fan base meanwhile remained sitting down whilst absorbing the magnificent mesmerising soundscape that came to a climax at the end with strobe lights and bass in full effect!
Tonight’s musical journey was a memorable one with beats flowing and echoing nicely within the vaulted ceilings of the church with the stunning visual interpretations!
You can find more info on Schnauss at www.ulrich-schnauss.com.