QUAESCHNING & SCHNAUSS

2017-08-25

Review 25th August 2017

The Progressive Aspect

Article by: John Wenlock-Smith This is an album from current Tangerine Dream members Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss. It’s highly distinctive and yet wears its influences clearly and immediately in that it sounds like vintage Virgin-era Tangerine Dream, with its array of clattering analogue synthesizers and loops sounding like something from a bygone era. Synthwaves was recorded in West Berlin late in 2016 and is an independent release, but don’t be fooled, this is not Tangerine Dream-lite but rightly stands alone as a release on its own merits. There is a warmth and an integrity that acts as a tribute, repaying its heroes and inspirations, but in addition it is a thoroughly enjoyable and listenable album with strong music and compositions and not just aimless noodling. It is a fairly immediate album but, like most, the more you listen the more you hear, if you get my drift. I especially like the use of simple melodies that stay with you after everything has finished, such as occurs on Rain on Dry Concrete (I love the imaginative titles used). There is substance and subtext here, but you need to let the music surround you to catch the undercurrents and see where Thorsten and Ulrich are taking you. It is a lovingly crafted album by two tremendous talents who on the basis of this release are very capable and considerate musicians who can be trusted to carry the TD banner forward into waters uncharted. The only downside is that the information provided with the CD is very scant, which I feel lets things down a little, but I guess budgetary constraints account for that. A great little disc, catch it while you can. MUSICIANS Thorsten Quaeschning & Ulrich Schnauss – Various Synthesizers, Programming & All Sounds ADDITIONAL INFO Record Label: Azure Vista Records Catalogue#: Vista 003 Date of Release: 30th June 2017  

2017-07-31

Review 31st July 2017

Echoes

Synthwaves by Quaeschning & Schnauss Echoes August CD of the Month Written by John Diliberto on July 31, 2017 The spirit of Tangerine Dream lives in our August CD of the Month. Wax up your surfboard because we’re riding Synthwaves. Synthwave, singular, is an electronic music genre that looks back to 1980s electronic music from pop to soundtracks. But Synthwaves, plural, is a new album by Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss, both veterans of electronic music in their own right and currently members of Tangerine Dream. Synthwaves harkens back to the early 80s sound of the Dream, but with some newer twists. Both musicians are steeped in the heritage of German electronic music. Thorsten Quaeschning recorded revved-up retro-space music under the name, Picture Palace Music. He’s also been a member of Tangerine Dream for the last 15 years or so. Ulrich Schnauss launched a new sound in electronic music that mixed shoegaze textures and guitar-like distortions with driving rhythms that often sounded like surf music in overdrive. His debut album, Far Away Trains Passing By and its follow-up, A Strangely Isolated Place, are signature examples of 21st century electronic music. For the last few years, he’s also been a member of Tangerine Dream. These two musicians have gotten together on Synthwaves, to create state-of-the-art sequencer music. “Rain on Dry Concrete” has driving interlocking patterns, phasing in and out of each other like a laser moiré pattern. This is the sound of 80s Tangerine Dream, updated with even more precision and complexity. This is music for the open highway, cruise control set to 90 mph, barreling through the night into the faint glow of the horizon. A couple of tunes have echoes of Tangerine Dream’s “Love on A Real Train” including “Slow Life”, built around an ostinato piano sequence and building to a climax on growling bass chords and phased synthesizer pads. “Thirst” follows a similar path, but builds into an industrial percolation of sequencer groove. We always thought the music of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Ash Ra Tempel (now Ashra) was the music of the future, and forty years later I think we can say we were right, because Synthwaves emerges out of the curl of that electronic wave, but it lands on different beaches. The duo, especially Quaeschning , deploys a gearhead’s wet dreams-worth of relatively vintage synthesizers from Roland, Korg and Oberheim, mostly 80’s models at that intersection of digital, analog and MIDI. Given the gear it shouldn’t be a surprise when the lead melody line of “Flare” uses a similar timbre to 80s era Dream. It’s surprising to hear Ulrich Schnauss, who has such a distinctive 21st century sound, submerge himself in the aesthetics and modes of Tangerine Dream. It’s not until the final track, “Prism,” where the Schnauss influence is obvious with the melancholy opening chords leading to an anthemic delay treated melody line. I kept waiting for the drums to roar in as on his own song, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” from Goodbye, which it resembles. Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss have made the best sequencer driven electronic album since Steve Roach’s 2015 album, Skeleton Keys. Synthwaves is an incredible ride, like going aerial in the Banzai pipeline.

2017-07-30

Echoes: CD of the Month

We ride Synthwaves by Quaschning & Schnauss, Echoes CD of the Month for August. Thorsten Quaschning recorded retrospace sounds under the name, Picture Palace Music. He’s also been a member of Tangerine Dream for the last 15 years or so. Ulrich Schnauss has been an Echoes favorite for all of this century going back to his debut album, Far Away Trains Passing By, a CD of the Month back then. For the last few years, he’s also been a member of Tangerine Dream. These two musicians have gotten together on an electronic album called Synthwaves . It’s a meeting of Dream-style sequencers and dynamics and Ulrich Schnauss’s shoegaze influenced electronica. We’ll explore this state-of-the-art sequencer album on Echoes.

2017-07-27

Review 27th July 2017

Textura

Had Hoshiko Yamane been involved, Synthwaves could have been issued as a Tangerine Dream release, given that Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss, and Yamane compose the outfit's current lineup in the wake of founder Edgar Froese's 2015 passing. As it is, Synthwaves sees Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss teaming up for an eight-track excursion whose contents are often reminiscent of the parent group. Recorded during two weeks in Berlin, the recording lands the listener squarely within Tangerine Dream territory from its first moment, with layers of vintage synthesizers and motorik drum machine beats giving “Main Theme” a pristine sheen that might well have you thinking of early group releases like Stratosfear, Force Majeure, and the Thief soundtrack. Memorable touches often differentiate one track from another and help recommend the release: both “Rain On Dry Concrete” and “Flare” less evoke Tangerine Dream than The Pat Metheny Group by including whistling synth textures similar to the sonorities Lyle Mays often added to the group's material. Though “Slow Life” opens in gentle ambient mode with reverb-drenched piano at the forefront, it gradually develops into an exercise in kosmische dazzle rich in entrancing synthetic washes, bass pulses, and analog sequencer patterns. “Flare” dazzles too, in this case by bewitching the listener with blissed-out psychedelia. Other tracks, on the other hand, present vintage riffs on the TD sound: oceanic waves of interlocking synth patterns blaze, sparkle, and pulsate throughout “Thirst” and “Prism,” each a deep exercise in interstellar overdrive if there ever was one. Inviting the comparison further, some pieces appear to thread guitar playing into their arrangements, much as Froese did on many a TD recording. Admittedly, Synthwaves won't win any awards for originality or innovation; what largely compensates for that, however, is the high quality of the production, with Quaeschning and Schnauss having created a remarkable and consistently beguiling collection of which they can be proud. Each richly polyrhythmic setting is an elaborately considered composition that pays homage to the past while at the same time sounding thoroughly contemporary.

2017-07-09

Review 9th July 2017

The Electricityclub

“Quality instrumental electronic music is often overlooked these days at the expense of vocal driven synth material. The halcyon days, of when artists such as JEAN-MICHEL JARRE, KLAUS SCHULZE and TANGERINE DREAM were all at their peak, are all but a distant memory. However, there are still artists that are producing quality work in this vein and this led The Electricity Club to investigate this release… ‘Synthwaves’ is a collaboration between TANGERINE DREAM members Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss which utilises their enviable collection of synthesizers. Whereas solo Schnauss has a fairly identifiable “wall of sound with Shoegaze elements” aesthetic, the link-up with Quaeschning has produced a more direct and melodic sound which, in places (unsurprisingly) references the classic sound of TD. The start-off track ‘Main Theme’ appears to be a homage to the ‘Stranger Things’ opening music, which in itself paid tribute to TD and electronic artists of the era. From the off, the track relies on a deep resonant synth bass and sequencer lines before introducing some William Orbit-style stabs and big reverberant drum sounds. In classic TD style, more layered echoed sequencer parts raise the energy level and what makes the piece sustain interest over its 8 minute length is its continually changing chord progressions and refusal to rely on a linear approach. ‘Slow Life’ starts off with a quite beautiful ambient Eno-esque acoustic piano part drenched in a long reverb before swiftly introducing another wonderfully deep bass and hooky synth sequence. Alongside a later track on the album, the ghost of the classic ‘Risky Business’ soundtrack piece ‘Love On A Real Train’ is initially recalled here, but the introduction of phased Solina strings and guitar-like textures add a further dimension. ‘Cats and Dogs’ which relies on a vintage Oberheim DMX for its drum pattern and the PROPAGANDA lyric-pinching ‘A Calm But Steady Flow’ are pleasant enough, but come across as mid-album fillers. Where the album really hits its stride though is in the final trilogy of tracks; ‘Thirst’ is the second track to owe a debt to ‘Love on a Real Train’. Based around a Manikin Schrittmacher sequencer part, the track’s skittering percussion and additional synth layers hit a wonderful climax at 3 minutes 17 seconds when a bass synth modulates around the hypnotic synth parts. Although over 8 minutes in length, ‘Thirst’ never outstays its welcome and for fans of the Berlin School of sequencing, is bound to be an undeniable highlight here. ‘Flare’ comes across in part as a drum-less electronic re-imagining of a ‘Disintegration’-era track by THE CURE; its huge string synth melody sounding absolutely epic and adding in a welcome musical change to the piece. Album closer ‘Prism’ has the kind of chord progression that makes the hairs stand up on the back of the neck and ends ‘Synthwaves’ on a real high. What’s interesting about this collaboration (and potentially exciting for the fans of the upcoming TANGERINE DREAM album) is that it must have been hugely tempting for Quaeschning and Schnauss to use the tracks here for TD. The very fact that they haven’t means that the upcoming TD release ‘Quantum Gate’ could be something very special indeed and a major justification of the continuation of the band following the passing of leader Edgar Froese. If you are a long term fan of melodic instrumental synthesizer music and maybe haven’t been inclined to investigate what is current within this sub-genre, this album would be a fantastic place to start. It avoids a lot of the clichés of some Berlin School material and at no point does it become overly self-indulgent. Immerse yourself in the ‘Synthwaves’ and you may never wish to surface again… ‘Synthwaves’ uses the following instrumentation and equipment: Thorsten Quaeschning – Steinberg Cubase, Manikin Schrittmacher sequencer, Manikin Memotron, Roland Jupiter 8, Roland JD800, Dave Smith Prophet 8, ARP Solina MK2, Korg Wavestation EX, Waldorf Microwave, Moog Voyager, Eurorack Modular, Roland V Synth, Korg Z1, Korg Prophecy, Korg M1 synthesiser, Clavia Nordwave, Yamaha TG77, Roland System 1, Roland JU06, Korg MS20, Roland JP08, Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer, Oberheim DMX, Roland Promars, Fender Starcaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Stratocaster, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Spectrasonics Keyscape, Screwdriver on wood and contact microphones, several boxes with contact microphones, bees in garden Ulrich Schnauss – Steinberg Cubase and Logic Pro, Manikin Schrittmacher sequencer, Roland JD XA, Roland Jupiter 8, Roland JD- 800, Oberheim OB-8, Roland System 1, Roland MKS-70, Rhodes Chroma, Waldorf Q, Microwave XT, Sonic Core SCOPE system, Ensoniq DP4”

2017-07-05

Review 5th July 2017

Four Culture

“Quaeschning & Schnauss unveil new album Synthwaves by Mike Stanton Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss have teamed up to create a record of pure Berlin-school bliss which pays homage to the past while remaining fresh and relevant. Crisp, interlocking patterns are modulated and mutated with mathematical precision into eight pieces of pristine, post-kosmische sounds to float away to. Recorded over two intense weeks in Berlin, Quaeschning and Schnauss – both students of the great, late maestro Edgar Froese and current members of Tangerine Dream – locked themselves in a studio full of vintage synthesizers, analogue sequencers and drum machines, and the result is a gorgeous set of purely electronic music. Whereas the title suggests something new and contemporary, the pieces are firmly rooted in the 1970’s evoking the likes of Cluster, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze at their spacey best. Many of the tracks meld Tangerine Dream‘s sequencer-led journeys and Cluster‘s playful side allowing poly-rhythmic patterns to build – slowly but steadily – bar after bar, until synth-Satori is reached. By the time the last track on this album runs out, it’s obvious these two producers are themselves masters of their craft. “Main Theme” is dramatic and sweeping with more than a few nods to the retro and synthwave movement. “Rain On Dry Concrete” and “Slow Life” are all bubbling arpeggios and bright shiny synths that play with melody and space. “Cats and Dogs” packs so many ideas in it appears to swell and grow with each listen. “Thirst” is almost a follow-up to Tangerine Dream‘s “Love on a Real Train” crossed with Jean Michel Jarre‘s “Arppegiator” with its crystal-glare electronics, spiraling sequencer and pulsating cues. “Flare” is a ballad with pure TD touches, while “Prism” gathers all the prettiest moments from TD and Ulrich‘s solo work with breathy synth pads creating a woozy 80’s shoegaze vibe, it swirls slowly leaving a fuzzy sheen in its wake. Synthwaves spans a range of moods from pulsating electronics through hypnotic drone to bright, chiming tones. Their heady explorations conjure meditative lulls throughout without falling into new age murkiness. It is a beautiful journey into a neon-metropolitan dusk.” If you enjoyed the decent records we have been championing by the likes of Concretism and Dalham then you are going to love this. Similarly if you can't get enough of the kosmische synth re-issues that have started popping up then this will be for you. Moreover if like me you only dabble these days, this could be the one synth record you need to pick up this year.”

2017-06-27

Review 5th July 2017

Norman Records

“8/10 “´Stars” Clinton Staff review, 27 June 2017 What a lot of people forget about me is that a used to be a right synth nut. In the early '80s I was obsessed with anything synthesizer and used to pour over my grandma's Marshall Ward catalogues looking at the pictures of the sort of keyboards I could only dream of owning. Now everyone else has caught on we have a glut of synth based albums in store that tend to leave me as cold as the atmospheres they are trying to emulate but I was quite taken with this album of compositions by Tangerine Dream affiliates Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss. This is a series of terrific 'Bladerunner' style compositions particularly the excellent opening 'Main Theme' which is one of those insta-classic synth themes that you are sure you have heard before. Following the death of Tangerine Dream leader Edgar Froese, the pair locked themselves in a room full of vintage equipment and basically squelched until their heart was content. 'Rain on Dry Concrete' is another superb piece which uses brilliant polyrhythms bouncing from ear to ear whilst also providing the sort of melody that would do as a heartfelt melody to 1982's latest pylons. 'Slow Life' starts out a little ambient with piano type sounds but soon erupts out of it's ether with a splendidly doomy yet soothing bass-line and brilliant drifting synth notes. If you enjoyed the decent records we have been championing by the likes of Concretism and Dalham then you are going to love this. Similarly if you can't get enough of the kosmische synth re-issues that have started popping up then this will be for you. Moreover if like me you only dabble these days, this could be the one synth record you need to pick up this year.”

2017-06-26

Interview 26th June 2017

1 Ear 2 Hear

Interview in Berlin after the June 2017 Concerts. (Taken from 2nd 1Ear2Hear Radio Show)

2017-06-25

Concert 25th June 2017

Quaeschning & Schnauss

Berliner Musikinstrumentenmuseum

playing Synthwaves

2017-06-23

Podcast “Echoes”

“Electronic Surfs with Synthwaves There’s a new genre out there that’s called Synthwave, that sounds like 1980s electronic music. On the next Slow Flow Echoes we’ll hear music from the soundtrack of The Rise of the Synths and a new album from Thorsten Quaschning and Ulrich Schnauss called Synthwaves. We surf it on Echoes”

2017-06-23

Review 23th June 2017

Somewherecold

“A two-week experiment, Synthwaves is the result of Thorsten Quaeschning (Tangerine Dream) and Ulrich Schnauss sequestering themselves in a room full of vintage synths, sequencers, and drum machines. The results are quite brilliant. The duo takes the listener on sci-fi adventures, flying them over space-like plateaus on far off planets, painting epic planetscape horizons where dual planets float in the distance, and flying them through uncharted areas of space with glisten stars and nebulae. It’s not astonishing that these two clearly adept musicians could craft such beautifully executed synth tracks but that they did so in such a short time and having placed particular limitations on themselves. Both a nostalgia trip for those who are 80’s synth music fans as well as a fresh take on the entire genre, Synthwaves is a demonstration of Quaeschning and Schnauss’ musical prowess. “Main Theme” opens Synthwaves with deep bass and bright, dancing synths. The melodic patterns move about, connecting to one another in a stream of brightly syncopated tempi. “Main Theme” prepares the listener for what’s ahead as they sit in holding, ready to blast off into an epic soundtrack of space exploration and sci-fi worlds. The variations on the core melody in this piece are captivating. Indeed, once you allow this track to envelop you, there is no turning back and the need to listen to what comes next becomes urgent and, ultimately, welcome. “Rain on Dry Concrete” comes into the speakers with echoing sci-fi synths and syncopated shaker sounds. It most certainly evokes long walks in hot summer rain showers but in a far distant, technologically advanced future. “Rain on Dry Concrete” should be listened to with soundtracks for future sci-fi epics in mind. “Slow Life” is just an astonishingly beautiful piece beginning with a simple melody played on piano which is wrapped in warm drones. Eventually, more sounds flitter into the speakers, as the title suggests, as the burgeoning of life is at hand. Deeper keys provide another melodic layer as they lead the listener into waves of textures that spark the imagination. Quaeschning and Schnauss hypnotize the listener as they ply their magic layers, building, peeling away, and building again. “Slow Life” is a magnificent feat of musical ingenuity. “Cats and Dogs” brings in a bit of a shift, with a view toward the use of percussion and the syncopated synths that travel alongside it. The piece builds as it reaches for an inevitable climax with melodies playing off one another amid dancing synths. “A Calm Steady Flow” begins with robotic synths and percussion. Poltergeist like synth tones haunt the cracks and crevices of this energetic piece. There are also these small moments where particular tones and textures play amid the larger melodies. These choices are striking and the attention to detail evocative. “Thirst” leads into a trilogy of one word titled songs. It is the longest on the album, boasting an 8:11 length. This composition has a bravado to it, an epicness, the sort that screams space opera or hero’s journey. This track really does lead into a back-end trilogy to this album, with its soaring complex moments and its suggestive, triumphant atmosphere. “Flare” is the penultimate track on Synthwaves and it dials down the larger sound and initially focuses on more somber moments. That said, eventually bright synths come to the fore and spark rays of hope into the darker, underlying tones. As “Flare” progresses, there are moments of rising electronic crystalline textures, glittering and dazzling. “Prism”, the album’s finale, comes into the speaker with iridescent fuzz, birds chirping, and slow glacial synths. It’s a track that soothes and memorizes and leads the listener gently into the fade at the end of the album. It’s no secret that Quaeschning and Schnauss both are masters of their instruments and the genres in which they tend to produce music. As individuals, their output is brilliant and, as collaborators, it is that much more breathtaking. There is a depth here that many musicians could not conjure from older analog synths. Quaeschning and Schnauss evoke a warmth from stereotypically cold mediums, from dense fuzzy walls of sound to deep abiding warm tones that engulf the listener. There is a sonic story being told here but it will evoke different things to different listeners, as these things go. That said, Synthwaves is captivating and will immerse the listener in synth heaven.”

2017-06-21

Review 21st June 2017

JHubner73

“Ulrich Schnauss is a busy guy. Not only has he released an excellent album already this year with fellow synth aficionado and Causa Sui guitarist Jonas Munk called Passage, but he’s also readying a new Tangerine Dream album called Quantum Gate, which marks the final concepts of TD founder Edgar Froese(who passed away in early 2015) and a new beginning for the Berlin School masters. You’d think that would be plenty for the year, but Schnauss seems constantly abuzz with ideas and creativity. He’s teamed up with Tangerine Dream band mate Thorsten Quaeschning and the two have made an album filled with analog synth heaven called Synthwaves. It’s a testament to the golden age of analog sounds and hazy oscillation that komische music gave us in both the pre-Watergate and post-end of the dream decade known as the 70s. It’s also a bit of a tribute to the mentor both Schnauss and Quaeschning had in Froese. The record is a heady sonic trip into the past, while keeping eyes firmly pointed to the future. “Main Theme” feels like a proper announcement to the world of Synthwaves. It blankets you in a warm sea of analog waves and melodic, early 80s pop hooks. This track could have easily soundtracked a lost Michael Mann film. It’s the kind of song that grabs you immediately and doesn’t let go. “Rain On Dry Concrete” can’t help but feel like Tangerine Dream. TD is in Quaeschning & Schauss’ DNA. It puts me in mind of Le Parc with its bright synth structures and arpeggiated sounds. “Slow Life” crumbles into a beautiful abyss. It’s crystalline sounds and nearly 8-minute run time create an epic listen. Through headphones “Slow Life” becomes a hypnotic tome, prone to pull you from your existence and carry you into some other ethereal world. Likewise, “Cats and Dogs” paints an aural universe with oscillation and LFO frequencies. It’s playful and all-encompassing. “A Calm But Steady Flow” sounds like robotic resonance in a metallic cavern. Some kind of AI call from the center of a synthetic world. You can almost touch the square waves in the air. Elsewhere “Thirst” recalls classic TD in the form of their Three O’Clock High score, while “Flare” has an ominous depth to it, like staring with your toes dangling into some great unknown. If you’re a fan of S U R V I V E and the Stranger Things soundtrack, this track will reach something inside you and not easily let go. “Prism” casts off into the great unknown, not really sure what will be caught. That’s the beauty of it, though. The unknown. Something just beyond the horizon. That’s truly the beauty of Synthwaves. It’s an album of musical exploration. It casts a musical line into the ether and we sit to see what that line pulls up. Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss have set out to create something exploratory but also something inviting and genuine. They’ve achieved that. I believe Edgar Froese would approve.”

2017-06-19

Review 19th June 2017

Sonic Immersion

Presented as a homage to the electronic music masters of the past yet breathing fresh contemporary and enchanting vibes along an overall post-cosmic sound, Thorsten Quaeschning & Ulrich Schnauss "Synthwaves" is a 53-minute release made with vintage synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines only. The eight track outcome has a highly cinematic feel and reflects quite a bit on TD’s soundtrack achievements on the first four pieces. Contrary to that I consider "A Calm but steady flow" an awkward and too stark exercise and therefor out of place on this recording. The last three tracks ("Thirst, "Flare" and "Prism") though are highlights with their sparkling, profound emotive and to the point sequenced aural design. Aside a nice nod and a wink to TD's classic work, the overall crisp sound along the nice matching and range of interlocking patterns evoke lovely vibes of nostalgia. Nice going guys!

2017-06-16

Review 16th June 2017

JUNO

“Berlin retro electronics from synth geniuses Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss. Synthwaves pays homage to the masters of the past, yet feels fresh and enchanting. Rich, neon-lit patterns are modulated and mutated with precision into several post cosmic sounds to drift to. During two intense weeks in the capital, Quaeschning and Schnauss (both students of the great, late maestro Edgar Froese) are said to have locked themselves in a studio full of vintage synthesizers, analogue sequencers and drum machines and here are the impressive results. These tracks are so evocative and life affirming as you'd expect given the credentials of these producers: in particular the dreampop and nu-gaze prince Schnauss' contribution. As with the finest Tangerine Dream soundtracks, it's the kind of music that paints vivid pictures on the canvas of the listeners mind.”
QUAESCHNING & SCHNAUSS

2017-08-25

Review 25th August 2017

The Progressive Aspect

Article by: John Wenlock-Smith This is an album from current Tangerine Dream members Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss. It’s highly distinctive and yet wears its influences clearly and immediately in that it sounds like vintage Virgin-era Tangerine Dream, with its array of clattering analogue synthesizers and loops sounding like something from a bygone era. Synthwaves was recorded in West Berlin late in 2016 and is an independent release, but don’t be fooled, this is not Tangerine Dream-lite but rightly stands alone as a release on its own merits. There is a warmth and an integrity that acts as a tribute, repaying its heroes and inspirations, but in addition it is a thoroughly enjoyable and listenable album with strong music and compositions and not just aimless noodling. It is a fairly immediate album but, like most, the more you listen the more you hear, if you get my drift. I especially like the use of simple melodies that stay with you after everything has finished, such as occurs on Rain on Dry Concrete (I love the imaginative titles used). There is substance and subtext here, but you need to let the music surround you to catch the undercurrents and see where Thorsten and Ulrich are taking you. It is a lovingly crafted album by two tremendous talents who on the basis of this release are very capable and considerate musicians who can be trusted to carry the TD banner forward into waters uncharted. The only downside is that the information provided with the CD is very scant, which I feel lets things down a little, but I guess budgetary constraints account for that. A great little disc, catch it while you can. MUSICIANS Thorsten Quaeschning & Ulrich Schnauss – Various Synthesizers, Programming & All Sounds ADDITIONAL INFO Record Label: Azure Vista Records Catalogue#: Vista 003 Date of Release: 30th June 2017  

2017-07-31

Review 31st July 2017

Echoes

Synthwaves by Quaeschning & Schnauss Echoes August CD of the Month Written by John Diliberto on July 31, 2017 The spirit of Tangerine Dream lives in our August CD of the Month. Wax up your surfboard because we’re riding Synthwaves. Synthwave, singular, is an electronic music genre that looks back to 1980s electronic music from pop to soundtracks. But Synthwaves, plural, is a new album by Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss, both veterans of electronic music in their own right and currently members of Tangerine Dream. Synthwaves harkens back to the early 80s sound of the Dream, but with some newer twists. Both musicians are steeped in the heritage of German electronic music. Thorsten Quaeschning recorded revved-up retro-space music under the name, Picture Palace Music. He’s also been a member of Tangerine Dream for the last 15 years or so. Ulrich Schnauss launched a new sound in electronic music that mixed shoegaze textures and guitar-like distortions with driving rhythms that often sounded like surf music in overdrive. His debut album, Far Away Trains Passing By and its follow-up, A Strangely Isolated Place, are signature examples of 21st century electronic music. For the last few years, he’s also been a member of Tangerine Dream. These two musicians have gotten together on Synthwaves, to create state-of-the-art sequencer music. “Rain on Dry Concrete” has driving interlocking patterns, phasing in and out of each other like a laser moiré pattern. This is the sound of 80s Tangerine Dream, updated with even more precision and complexity. This is music for the open highway, cruise control set to 90 mph, barreling through the night into the faint glow of the horizon. A couple of tunes have echoes of Tangerine Dream’s “Love on A Real Train” including “Slow Life”, built around an ostinato piano sequence and building to a climax on growling bass chords and phased synthesizer pads. “Thirst” follows a similar path, but builds into an industrial percolation of sequencer groove. We always thought the music of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Ash Ra Tempel (now Ashra) was the music of the future, and forty years later I think we can say we were right, because Synthwaves emerges out of the curl of that electronic wave, but it lands on different beaches. The duo, especially Quaeschning , deploys a gearhead’s wet dreams- worth of relatively vintage synthesizers from Roland, Korg and Oberheim, mostly 80’s models at that intersection of digital, analog and MIDI. Given the gear it shouldn’t be a surprise when the lead melody line of “Flare” uses a similar timbre to 80s era Dream. It’s surprising to hear Ulrich Schnauss, who has such a distinctive 21st century sound, submerge himself in the aesthetics and modes of Tangerine Dream. It’s not until the final track, “Prism,” where the Schnauss influence is obvious with the melancholy opening chords leading to an anthemic delay treated melody line. I kept waiting for the drums to roar in as on his own song, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” from Goodbye, which it resembles. Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss have made the best sequencer driven electronic album since Steve Roach’s 2015 album, Skeleton Keys. Synthwaves is an incredible ride, like going aerial in the Banzai pipeline.

2017-07-30

Echoes: CD of the Month

We ride Synthwaves by Quaschning & Schnauss, Echoes CD of the Month for August. Thorsten Quaschning recorded retrospace sounds under the name, Picture Palace Music. He’s also been a member of Tangerine Dream for the last 15 years or so. Ulrich Schnauss has been an Echoes favorite for all of this century going back to his debut album, Far Away Trains Passing By, a CD of the Month back then. For the last few years, he’s also been a member of Tangerine Dream. These two musicians have gotten together on an electronic album called Synthwaves . It’s a meeting of Dream-style sequencers and dynamics and Ulrich Schnauss’s shoegaze influenced electronica. We’ll explore this state-of-the-art sequencer album on Echoes.

2017-07-27

Review 27th July 2017

Textura

Had Hoshiko Yamane been involved, Synthwaves could have been issued as a Tangerine Dream release, given that Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss, and Yamane compose the outfit's current lineup in the wake of founder Edgar Froese's 2015 passing. As it is, Synthwaves sees Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss teaming up for an eight-track excursion whose contents are often reminiscent of the parent group. Recorded during two weeks in Berlin, the recording lands the listener squarely within Tangerine Dream territory from its first moment, with layers of vintage synthesizers and motorik drum machine beats giving “Main Theme” a pristine sheen that might well have you thinking of early group releases like Stratosfear, Force Majeure, and the Thief soundtrack. Memorable touches often differentiate one track from another and help recommend the release: both “Rain On Dry Concrete” and “Flare” less evoke Tangerine Dream than The Pat Metheny Group by including whistling synth textures similar to the sonorities Lyle Mays often added to the group's material. Though “Slow Life” opens in gentle ambient mode with reverb-drenched piano at the forefront, it gradually develops into an exercise in kosmische dazzle rich in entrancing synthetic washes, bass pulses, and analog sequencer patterns. “Flare” dazzles too, in this case by bewitching the listener with blissed-out psychedelia. Other tracks, on the other hand, present vintage riffs on the TD sound: oceanic waves of interlocking synth patterns blaze, sparkle, and pulsate throughout “Thirst” and “Prism,” each a deep exercise in interstellar overdrive if there ever was one. Inviting the comparison further, some pieces appear to thread guitar playing into their arrangements, much as Froese did on many a TD recording. Admittedly, Synthwaves won't win any awards for originality or innovation; what largely compensates for that, however, is the high quality of the production, with Quaeschning and Schnauss having created a remarkable and consistently beguiling collection of which they can be proud. Each richly polyrhythmic setting is an elaborately considered composition that pays homage to the past while at the same time sounding thoroughly contemporary.

2017-07-09

Review 9th July 2017

The Electricityclub

“Quality instrumental electronic music is often overlooked these days at the expense of vocal driven synth material. The halcyon days, of when artists such as JEAN- MICHEL JARRE, KLAUS SCHULZE and TANGERINE DREAM were all at their peak, are all but a distant memory. However, there are still artists that are producing quality work in this vein and this led The Electricity Club to investigate this release… ‘Synthwaves’ is a collaboration between TANGERINE DREAM members Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss which utilises their enviable collection of synthesizers. Whereas solo Schnauss has a fairly identifiable “wall of sound with Shoegaze elements” aesthetic, the link-up with Quaeschning has produced a more direct and melodic sound which, in places (unsurprisingly) references the classic sound of TD. The start-off track ‘Main Theme’ appears to be a homage to the ‘Stranger Things’ opening music, which in itself paid tribute to TD and electronic artists of the era. From the off, the track relies on a deep resonant synth bass and sequencer lines before introducing some William Orbit-style stabs and big reverberant drum sounds. In classic TD style, more layered echoed sequencer parts raise the energy level and what makes the piece sustain interest over its 8 minute length is its continually changing chord progressions and refusal to rely on a linear approach. ‘Slow Life’ starts off with a quite beautiful ambient Eno-esque acoustic piano part drenched in a long reverb before swiftly introducing another wonderfully deep bass and hooky synth sequence. Alongside a later track on the album, the ghost of the classic ‘Risky Business’ soundtrack piece ‘Love On A Real Train’ is initially recalled here, but the introduction of phased Solina strings and guitar-like textures add a further dimension. ‘Cats and Dogs’ which relies on a vintage Oberheim DMX for its drum pattern and the PROPAGANDA lyric-pinching ‘A Calm But Steady Flow’ are pleasant enough, but come across as mid-album fillers. Where the album really hits its stride though is in the final trilogy of tracks; ‘Thirst’ is the second track to owe a debt to ‘Love on a Real Train’. Based around a Manikin Schrittmacher sequencer part, the track’s skittering percussion and additional synth layers hit a wonderful climax at 3 minutes 17 seconds when a bass synth modulates around the hypnotic synth parts. Although over 8 minutes in length, ‘Thirst’ never outstays its welcome and for fans of the Berlin School of sequencing, is bound to be an undeniable highlight here. ‘Flare’ comes across in part as a drum-less electronic re-imagining of a ‘Disintegration’-era track by THE CURE; its huge string synth melody sounding absolutely epic and adding in a welcome musical change to the piece. Album closer ‘Prism’ has the kind of chord progression that makes the hairs stand up on the back of the neck and ends ‘Synthwaves’ on a real high. What’s interesting about this collaboration (and potentially exciting for the fans of the upcoming TANGERINE DREAM album) is that it must have been hugely tempting for Quaeschning and Schnauss to use the tracks here for TD. The very fact that they haven’t means that the upcoming TD release ‘Quantum Gate’ could be something very special indeed and a major justification of the continuation of the band following the passing of leader Edgar Froese. If you are a long term fan of melodic instrumental synthesizer music and maybe haven’t been inclined to investigate what is current within this sub-genre, this album would be a fantastic place to start. It avoids a lot of the clichés of some Berlin School material and at no point does it become overly self- indulgent. Immerse yourself in the ‘Synthwaves’ and you may never wish to surface again… ‘Synthwaves’ uses the following instrumentation and equipment: Thorsten Quaeschning – Steinberg Cubase, Manikin Schrittmacher sequencer, Manikin Memotron, Roland Jupiter 8, Roland JD800, Dave Smith Prophet 8, ARP Solina MK2, Korg Wavestation EX, Waldorf Microwave, Moog Voyager, Eurorack Modular, Roland V Synth, Korg Z1, Korg Prophecy, Korg M1 synthesiser, Clavia Nordwave, Yamaha TG77, Roland System 1, Roland JU06, Korg MS20, Roland JP08, Roland TR-8 Rhythm Performer, Oberheim DMX, Roland Promars, Fender Starcaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Stratocaster, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Spectrasonics Keyscape, Screwdriver on wood and contact microphones, several boxes with contact microphones, bees in garden Ulrich Schnauss – Steinberg Cubase and Logic Pro, Manikin Schrittmacher sequencer, Roland JD XA, Roland Jupiter 8, Roland JD-800, Oberheim OB-8, Roland System 1, Roland MKS-70, Rhodes Chroma, Waldorf Q, Microwave XT, Sonic Core SCOPE system, Ensoniq DP4”

2017-07-05

Review 5th July 2017

Four Culture

“Quaeschning & Schnauss unveil new album Synthwaves by Mike Stanton Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss have teamed up to create a record of pure Berlin-school bliss which pays homage to the past while remaining fresh and relevant. Crisp, interlocking patterns are modulated and mutated with mathematical precision into eight pieces of pristine, post-kosmische sounds to float away to. Recorded over two intense weeks in Berlin, Quaeschning and Schnauss – both students of the great, late maestro Edgar Froese and current members of Tangerine Dream – locked themselves in a studio full of vintage synthesizers, analogue sequencers and drum machines, and the result is a gorgeous set of purely electronic music. Whereas the title suggests something new and contemporary, the pieces are firmly rooted in the 1970’s evoking the likes of Cluster, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze at their spacey best. Many of the tracks meld Tangerine Dream‘s sequencer-led journeys and Cluster‘s playful side allowing poly-rhythmic patterns to build – slowly but steadily – bar after bar, until synth-Satori is reached. By the time the last track on this album runs out, it’s obvious these two producers are themselves masters of their craft. “Main Theme” is dramatic and sweeping with more than a few nods to the retro and synthwave movement. “Rain On Dry Concrete” and “Slow Life” are all bubbling arpeggios and bright shiny synths that play with melody and space. “Cats and Dogs” packs so many ideas in it appears to swell and grow with each listen. “Thirst” is almost a follow-up to Tangerine Dream‘s “Love on a Real Train” crossed with Jean Michel Jarre‘s “Arppegiator” with its crystal- glare electronics, spiraling sequencer and pulsating cues. “Flare” is a ballad with pure TD touches, while “Prism” gathers all the prettiest moments from TD and Ulrich‘s solo work with breathy synth pads creating a woozy 80’s shoegaze vibe, it swirls slowly leaving a fuzzy sheen in its wake. Synthwaves spans a range of moods from pulsating electronics through hypnotic drone to bright, chiming tones. Their heady explorations conjure meditative lulls throughout without falling into new age murkiness. It is a beautiful journey into a neon- metropolitan dusk.” If you enjoyed the decent records we have been championing by the likes of Concretism and Dalham then you are going to love this. Similarly if you can't get enough of the kosmische synth re-issues that have started popping up then this will be for you. Moreover if like me you only dabble these days, this could be the one synth record you need to pick up this year.”

2017-06-27

Review 5th July 2017

Norman Records

“8/10 “´Stars” Clinton Staff review, 27 June 2017 What a lot of people forget about me is that a used to be a right synth nut. In the early '80s I was obsessed with anything synthesizer and used to pour over my grandma's Marshall Ward catalogues looking at the pictures of the sort of keyboards I could only dream of owning. Now everyone else has caught on we have a glut of synth based albums in store that tend to leave me as cold as the atmospheres they are trying to emulate but I was quite taken with this album of compositions by Tangerine Dream affiliates Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss. This is a series of terrific 'Bladerunner' style compositions particularly the excellent opening 'Main Theme' which is one of those insta-classic synth themes that you are sure you have heard before. Following the death of Tangerine Dream leader Edgar Froese, the pair locked themselves in a room full of vintage equipment and basically squelched until their heart was content. 'Rain on Dry Concrete' is another superb piece which uses brilliant polyrhythms bouncing from ear to ear whilst also providing the sort of melody that would do as a heartfelt melody to 1982's latest pylons. 'Slow Life' starts out a little ambient with piano type sounds but soon erupts out of it's ether with a splendidly doomy yet soothing bass-line and brilliant drifting synth notes. If you enjoyed the decent records we have been championing by the likes of Concretism and Dalham then you are going to love this. Similarly if you can't get enough of the kosmische synth re-issues that have started popping up then this will be for you. Moreover if like me you only dabble these days, this could be the one synth record you need to pick up this year.”

2017-06-26

Interview 26th June 2017

1 Ear 2 Hear

Interview in Berlin after the June 2017 Concerts. (Taken from 2nd 1Ear2Hear Radio Show)

2017-06-25

Concert 25th June 2017

Quaeschning & Schnauss

Berliner

Musikinstrumentenmuseum

playing Synthwaves

2017-06-23

Podcast “Echoes”

“Electronic Surfs with Synthwaves There’s a new genre out there that’s called Synthwave, that sounds like 1980s electronic music. On the next Slow Flow Echoes we’ll hear music from the soundtrack of The Rise of the Synths and a new album from Thorsten Quaschning and Ulrich Schnauss called Synthwaves. We surf it on Echoes”

2017-06-23

Review 23th June 2017

Somewherecold

“A two-week experiment, Synthwaves is the result of Thorsten Quaeschning (Tangerine Dream) and Ulrich Schnauss sequestering themselves in a room full of vintage synths, sequencers, and drum machines. The results are quite brilliant. The duo takes the listener on sci-fi adventures, flying them over space- like plateaus on far off planets, painting epic planetscape horizons where dual planets float in the distance, and flying them through uncharted areas of space with glisten stars and nebulae. It’s not astonishing that these two clearly adept musicians could craft such beautifully executed synth tracks but that they did so in such a short time and having placed particular limitations on themselves. Both a nostalgia trip for those who are 80’s synth music fans as well as a fresh take on the entire genre, Synthwaves is a demonstration of Quaeschning and Schnauss’ musical prowess. “Main Theme” opens Synthwaves with deep bass and bright, dancing synths. The melodic patterns move about, connecting to one another in a stream of brightly syncopated tempi. “Main Theme” prepares the listener for what’s ahead as they sit in holding, ready to blast off into an epic soundtrack of space exploration and sci-fi worlds. The variations on the core melody in this piece are captivating. Indeed, once you allow this track to envelop you, there is no turning back and the need to listen to what comes next becomes urgent and, ultimately, welcome. “Rain on Dry Concrete” comes into the speakers with echoing sci-fi synths and syncopated shaker sounds. It most certainly evokes long walks in hot summer rain showers but in a far distant, technologically advanced future. “Rain on Dry Concrete” should be listened to with soundtracks for future sci-fi epics in mind. “Slow Life” is just an astonishingly beautiful piece beginning with a simple melody played on piano which is wrapped in warm drones. Eventually, more sounds flitter into the speakers, as the title suggests, as the burgeoning of life is at hand. Deeper keys provide another melodic layer as they lead the listener into waves of textures that spark the imagination. Quaeschning and Schnauss hypnotize the listener as they ply their magic layers, building, peeling away, and building again. “Slow Life” is a magnificent feat of musical ingenuity. “Cats and Dogs” brings in a bit of a shift, with a view toward the use of percussion and the syncopated synths that travel alongside it. The piece builds as it reaches for an inevitable climax with melodies playing off one another amid dancing synths. “A Calm Steady Flow” begins with robotic synths and percussion. Poltergeist like synth tones haunt the cracks and crevices of this energetic piece. There are also these small moments where particular tones and textures play amid the larger melodies. These choices are striking and the attention to detail evocative. “Thirst” leads into a trilogy of one word titled songs. It is the longest on the album, boasting an 8:11 length. This composition has a bravado to it, an epicness, the sort that screams space opera or hero’s journey. This track really does lead into a back-end trilogy to this album, with its soaring complex moments and its suggestive, triumphant atmosphere. “Flare” is the penultimate track on Synthwaves and it dials down the larger sound and initially focuses on more somber moments. That said, eventually bright synths come to the fore and spark rays of hope into the darker, underlying tones. As “Flare” progresses, there are moments of rising electronic crystalline textures, glittering and dazzling. “Prism”, the album’s finale, comes into the speaker with iridescent fuzz, birds chirping, and slow glacial synths. It’s a track that soothes and memorizes and leads the listener gently into the fade at the end of the album. It’s no secret that Quaeschning and Schnauss both are masters of their instruments and the genres in which they tend to produce music. As individuals, their output is brilliant and, as collaborators, it is that much more breathtaking. There is a depth here that many musicians could not conjure from older analog synths. Quaeschning and Schnauss evoke a warmth from stereotypically cold mediums, from dense fuzzy walls of sound to deep abiding warm tones that engulf the listener. There is a sonic story being told here but it will evoke different things to different listeners, as these things go. That said, Synthwaves is captivating and will immerse the listener in synth heaven.”

2017-06-21

Review 21st June 2017

JHubner73

“Ulrich Schnauss is a busy guy. Not only has he released an excellent album already this year with fellow synth aficionado and Causa Sui guitarist Jonas Munk called Passage, but he’s also readying a new Tangerine Dream album called Quantum Gate, which marks the final concepts of TD founder Edgar Froese(who passed away in early 2015) and a new beginning for the Berlin School masters. You’d think that would be plenty for the year, but Schnauss seems constantly abuzz with ideas and creativity. He’s teamed up with Tangerine Dream band mate Thorsten Quaeschning and the two have made an album filled with analog synth heaven called Synthwaves. It’s a testament to the golden age of analog sounds and hazy oscillation that komische music gave us in both the pre-Watergate and post- end of the dream decade known as the 70s. It’s also a bit of a tribute to the mentor both Schnauss and Quaeschning had in Froese. The record is a heady sonic trip into the past, while keeping eyes firmly pointed to the future. “Main Theme” feels like a proper announcement to the world of Synthwaves. It blankets you in a warm sea of analog waves and melodic, early 80s pop hooks. This track could have easily soundtracked a lost Michael Mann film. It’s the kind of song that grabs you immediately and doesn’t let go. “Rain On Dry Concrete” can’t help but feel like Tangerine Dream. TD is in Quaeschning & Schauss’ DNA. It puts me in mind of Le Parc with its bright synth structures and arpeggiated sounds. “Slow Life” crumbles into a beautiful abyss. It’s crystalline sounds and nearly 8-minute run time create an epic listen. Through headphones “Slow Life” becomes a hypnotic tome, prone to pull you from your existence and carry you into some other ethereal world. Likewise, “Cats and Dogs” paints an aural universe with oscillation and LFO frequencies. It’s playful and all-encompassing. “A Calm But Steady Flow” sounds like robotic resonance in a metallic cavern. Some kind of AI call from the center of a synthetic world. You can almost touch the square waves in the air. Elsewhere “Thirst” recalls classic TD in the form of their Three O’Clock High score, while “Flare” has an ominous depth to it, like staring with your toes dangling into some great unknown. If you’re a fan of S U R V I V E and the Stranger Things soundtrack, this track will reach something inside you and not easily let go. “Prism” casts off into the great unknown, not really sure what will be caught. That’s the beauty of it, though. The unknown. Something just beyond the horizon. That’s truly the beauty of Synthwaves. It’s an album of musical exploration. It casts a musical line into the ether and we sit to see what that line pulls up. Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss have set out to create something exploratory but also something inviting and genuine. They’ve achieved that. I believe Edgar Froese would approve.”

2017-06-19

Review 19th June 2017

Sonic Immersion

Presented as a homage to the electronic music masters of the past yet breathing fresh contemporary and enchanting vibes along an overall post-cosmic sound, Thorsten Quaeschning & Ulrich Schnauss "Synthwaves" is a 53-minute release made with vintage synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines only. The eight track outcome has a highly cinematic feel and reflects quite a bit on TD’s soundtrack achievements on the first four pieces. Contrary to that I consider "A Calm but steady flow" an awkward and too stark exercise and therefor out of place on this recording. The last three tracks ("Thirst, "Flare" and "Prism") though are highlights with their sparkling, profound emotive and to the point sequenced aural design. Aside a nice nod and a wink to TD's classic work, the overall crisp sound along the nice matching and range of interlocking patterns evoke lovely vibes of nostalgia. Nice going guys!

2017-06-16

Review 16th June 2017

JUNO

“Berlin retro electronics from synth geniuses Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss. Synthwaves pays homage to the masters of the past, yet feels fresh and enchanting. Rich, neon-lit patterns are modulated and mutated with precision into several post cosmic sounds to drift to. During two intense weeks in the capital, Quaeschning and Schnauss (both students of the great, late maestro Edgar Froese) are said to have locked themselves in a studio full of vintage synthesizers, analogue sequencers and drum machines and here are the impressive results. These tracks are so evocative and life affirming as you'd expect given the credentials of these producers: in particular the dreampop and nu-gaze prince Schnauss' contribution. As with the finest Tangerine Dream soundtracks, it's the kind of music that paints vivid pictures on the canvas of the listeners mind.”