Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ulrich Schnauss support acts: Field Harmonics, Rocky Steps

26.02.2016 The Rainbow, Digbeth / Birmingham

It is not that common to get three great acts for a mere tenner and to have an evening of mainly ambient electronica, which made that gig special from the word go

The evening started with the not-so-ambient electropop duo ‘Field Harmonics’ consisting of Bryony Williams and Rob Glover aided by drummer Matthew Pinfield.

Highly energetic they started off the evening nicely with a tight set that was very well presented. Bryonies vocals sounded beautiful and thrown against the rhythmic music offered a nice contrast to the beats.

Field Harmonics played new tracks such as their single ‘Girl’ from their forthcoming album ‘Corners’ as well as stuff from their 2013 album ‘Walls’ and with a set of 30 minutes they left the audience wanting more.

With the second support act, Rocky Steps, a one-man project, we were moving into the ambient part of the evening. Using backdrops and dense music laden with samples of film dialogues that were both rhythmically appealing as well as melodic, Rocky steps showed that music can be somewhat sparse yet rich in content.  

Tangerine Dream member Ulrich Schnauss and his visual artist Nat Urazmatova entered the stage a short time later and the performance and visuals were a match made in heaven. The sounds were crystal clear and the moods of the music was amplified beautifully through rich and diverse visuals ranging from landscapes to cityscapes, from people dancing in an arid landscape to bullet trains.

Ulrichs music is ambient yet very much alive and driving at times and very contemporary sounding. The trademark arpeggiator/sequencer-driven sounds of classic Tangerine Dream tracks is almost completely absent or only sparsely noticeable, which will allow future TD albums to have a 21st century feel to them.

The evening ended with a track from Tangerine Dreams ‘Quantum Key’ album and with his amazing talent the legacy of the great Tangerine Dream seems in safe hands.

Born in 1977, Ulrich will have missed a great deal of the groundbreaking work of TD and was a child when Edgar Froese-led TD pepped up movies with amazing soundtracks and not being bound by what came before him Tangerine Dream with Ulrich on board won’t likely try to re-hash old compositions, which in the long run can only be a good thing.

All three acts were amazing and it was a perfect night out  

picture credit: Nicole Valentin

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