SXSW 2009: Ulrich Schnauss @ Elysium

More from Mark Sando in Austin:

When you enter a venue and the audience are sitting on the floor waiting for their idol to come on stage, it's a pretty safe bet to say you haven't found yourself at a Metallica gig. 

Ulrich Schnauss, however? If the shoegaze fits.

Schnauss was in town to play songs from his three albums Goodbye, A Strangely Isolated Place and Faraway Trains Passing By, as well as showcasing songs from his forthcoming album.

As he takes to the stage the crowd get off their feet, and Schnauss begins his set using ableton, a midi keyboard and a whole host of controllers, buttons and pedals.
He seemlessly blends reverb, White noise, drumbeats and squelchy synths into beautiful evocative soundscapes.

There is one Metallica moment in the set though, when a fight breaks out – it seems the line between being enthusiastic and being disrespectful is one blurred by noise.

Ulrich is joined on stage by Rob McVey from Longview for the sublime Shine, his vocals float above the soundscapes, he stays on stage to add noise through the rest of Schnauss' set.
Watching Ulrich is fascinating in itself; yes, he's just a guy with a laptop and some pedals but he is passionate about his music and creating sets that are gripping and urgent, and never quite the same as the last.

His passion is evident when a member of the SXSW staff flash lights in his eyes to signal that his time is up, but Ulrich is not the kind of artist to cut a well planned set short.

Marvellous stuff.

* What should Mark see tomorrow?  Comment below or tweet @marksando

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