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15

FRIDAY

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As the umpteenth shoegazer to honor My Bloody Valentine’s legacy of semi-psychedelic detachment and cold-boned beats, Ulrich Schnauss could easily be dismissed as a hack. The Berliner even named his latest disc A Strangely Isolated Place, which is, like, duh. But I give him props for this: It’s not that easy to turn Kevin Shields’ weird whale-song aesthetic into something utterly hopeful without layin’ on the cheese too thickly. Perhaps Schnauss thinks his 6- to 10-minute songs are playgrounds of alienation, but I hear nothing but optimism: doors opening, skies broadening, highways stretching, cells dividing, all that shit. Sometimes, though, he taps into a rarer essence—a tone that’s ever-so-fleetingly mystic, the sound that Brian Eno gave U2’s The Unforgettable Fire. And remember, when Bono sang about “desperation, dislocation, separation, condemnation, revelation” on that record, he topped it off with “I’m wide awake.” Schnauss was probably listening. Schnauss brings his synths-and-effects show with M83 at 9:30 p.m. on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-7960. (Joe Warminsky)