With his third album, Ulrich Schnauss expands his lush, downtempo techno sound further, while adding a couple of guest vocalists. On Goodbye, Schnauss walks his trademark sound into more open spaces. His solemn rhythms and heaving, synthetic emotion spread from chaos to calm and everywhere in between.
Goodbye is the German artist’s most diverse release to date, taking his mellow trance sound to new levels with greater swells and lulls. There are more tracks than any previous release (ten), and each are shorter and more to-the-point (averaging only six and half minutes each). And he’s not the only one providing vocals this time. On the second track, "Shine", Rob McVey of the British band Long-view sings in a powerfully understated voice that sweeps through effects with ghost-like presence. Schnauss injects a modern spirituality as McVey hauntingly utters "Jesus Christ" while a pattering beat coasts along and synth effects swirl tenaciously. Schnauss’ own vocals had never quite reached this level of intensity.
The next track, "Stars", begins with a throughly Schnaussian beat/synth composition as Judith Beck’s voice enters modestly like a distorted internal dialogue. The track ebbs and flows with razor’s edge effects entering from all sides. Where Goodbye really becomes a dynamic mix is with "Einfeld", which begins a somber electronic hum that grows into a poignantly slow surge and back down. The next track, "In Between the Years" is one of his calmest to date, starting as a barely audible tone and delicately adding liquid piano and faintly shimmering organ sounds.
Other tracks, like "Medusa" and "For Good" add different elements to Schnauss’ sound. "Medusa" is a chaotic shuffle with washing vocals, glitches, and a jungle-tinged beat, while "For Good" ends Goodbye with an acoustic guitar strum then slips into an angelic slumber.
While not as immediately striking as some past work, Goodbye extends Schnauss’ repertoire nicely, and takes his abilities even further. His train-like, chugging sound changes speed with more agility while picking up a few passengers along the way. Just another solid example of art in motion.