Quality: 4 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
Ulrich Schnauss doesn't make a drastic change in his sound on A Strangely Isolated Place, but he mixes up the details just enough to keep things interesting while generally maintaining quality control. Whereas his debut album was very cold and clean sounding, he grunges up the production a little bit for many of these tracks. They're still chilled out electronica with a shoegazing aesthetic, but the atmospherics end up much more varied with some distorted drums and high altitude crackling.
"Gone Forever" is the poppiest that Schnauss had gone up to this point, with an ethereal vocal hook serving as the signifier of the track. A propulsive bass line and a buzzsaw synth pushes "On My Own" a little harder than Schnauss had attempted up to this point. "Monday - Paracetamol" has a dirty, underwater sound that I suppose perfectly rflects the title, while "Blumenthal" has some huge synth that ramp up the ambient aspects. In fact, I would have been happy if the track never developed into a full blown production, although I have no complaints about the chiming melody in the second half. The title track is a multi-part affair which also does a fine job with ambient sections while also managing a spot of grungy shoegazing in the middle.
This is often cited as Schnauss' best LP, although I'd have to say it's actually my least favorite of his albums so far. That's not to say I don't like it - I do - but these tunes don't quite burrow into my brain the way some of his other efforts do. You may have a different reaction to this sonic narcotic.