steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Pia Fraus / Ulrich Schnauss

split 7"


Genre: shoegazer, electronic

Estonia & Germany

Nov 18, 2008

Estonian shoegaze stalwarts Pia Fraus and German electronic legend Ulrich Schnauss have teamed up for this novel split seven-incher. Each act contributes a track, but there's a catch: Schnauss handles the production duties for Pia Fraus' track, and vice versa.

The results are predictably solid considering the collective curriculum vitae on offer here. Side A is home to "Mute the Birds," a re-tooled track from Pia Fraus' impeccable After Summer. Schnauss' production lends the already ethereal track a fuller, more airy quality - the result is a superior version worth a look for serious shoegazer fans. A decreased emphasis on guitar means more attention is paid to atmosphere, turning one of After Summer's better songs into a mini-masterpiece.

Meanwhile, Schnauss's "Ships Will Sail" is exclusive to this single and considerably more abstract, doing for shoegazer what Caribou did for sixties pop on Andorra. Lush and massive, the song has a wonderful, uplifting melody. The production duties are also nailed by Pia Fraus, who do more than justice to Schnauss's unique blend of electronic pop. Both tracks considered, this is a fantastic record and one of the best split singles I've ever come across. Vinyl should be proud to bear these grooves.

pia fraus' myspace, ulrich schnauss' myspace

youuuuuuuutube!: pia fraus' "springsister" video, ulrich schnauss' "clear day" video

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 2 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]