To make his latest album, Goodbye (Domino), Ulrich Schnauss temporarily departed his home in London for his birthplace: Kiel, Germany. There he came face to face with tranquility and loneliness, plus the spectre of his tormented teenage years, leading him to make a record that fulfills the mission set forth on 2003's A Strangely Isolated Place: to create a modern update of the early '90s British shoegaze sound.
Schnauss has been influenced by My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins, but when we asked for his favorite shoegaze albums, he was careful to highlight the genre's less obvious masterpieces.
Blood Music (Dedicated)
One of my favorite albums of all time. It's very underrated, but if it came out three years earlier or three years later it probably would have been very acclaimed. It fuses electronic dance and indie elements. You can hear loads of different ideas clashing.
Mahogany takes influence from Cocteau Twins and Slowdive and does something new with it. Their first album was also really important to me as it came it out at a time when dance was on the decline, it was the last days of Brit Pop, and I was really frustrated with new music.
A Lush record should definitely be mentioned. This was their first proper studio album. (Gala was more like a compilation). It's a great combination of two very great talents: Emma Anderson's songwriting and Robin Guthrie from Cocteau Twins' production.
Elika (This Quiet Army)
One of my favorite records of last year, from a Brooklyn band on a small Canadian label. It combines shoegazing influences but moves into electronica territory. It's got a lot more synths on it than guitars but that aesthetic is present.
An obvious choice but it's such a great album with so many great songs. In the production credits it says, "Mixed, produced, and flanged by Neil Halstead and Chris Hufford," which gives you an idea of the sound. It's equally strong on a songwriting level and a soundscaping level.