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Michael Brückner - Hikari CD (album) cover


Michael Brückner


Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 2 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars One of the finest and most consistently interesting artists working in the modern progressive-electronic field is German composer Michael Brückner. Keeping the heels of one foot in the doorway of the vintage electronic masters whilst mostly occupying a varied and colourful take on contemporary styles, each album sounds completely different to his last, and Michael's music is as far removed from slavish and lazy hero worship as you can hope to find in modern electronic genres. His first release of 2016, `Hikari' (Japanese for `light') reveals many different musical personalities across a range of emotions, often darker without being bleak or hostile or avoiding a sense of hope, and varied without ever becoming unfocused.

The centrepoint of the album is a twenty-eight minute six-part suite entitled `The Race'. It's an eerie, dream-like mix of vocal samples, shimmering electronic washes and dark drones with a multitude of cool contemporary beats. Some passages take on an uneasy nightmarish ambience of long stretching stillness, others dance through subdued and gently grooving chill-outs. It's a very modern sounding piece with only the gentlest of vintage influences seeping in, and it oddly balances a calming air with darkening shadows beautifully.

`Tygerlillie's Travelogue' appears in two different forms, and in the same way as this approach on Brückner's superb 2013 `Naura' release brought forth interesting results, the two interpretations offer subtle yet crucial differences. Groaning Mellotron choirs with a careful symphonic flair opens the more overtly vintage-flavoured `Wild Mix' with trickling emerging sequencer patterns and Jarre-like colourful effects, but caressing washes of synths and sprightly Klaus Schulze-esque upfront soloing weaves in and out of the atmosphere, creating an unhurried dreaminess. The `Disciplined Mix' is frequently boisterous and powerful, with more upfront skittering programming and regal enveloping Mellotron bursts.

Essentially the title-track, `Light' is an ethereal and heavenly gentle drone sparkling with an embracing warmth, where twinkling ripples of sequencer patterns unwind, cascade and retreat, and the touching ending is full of hope and heart. Two improvisations then follow, `Sarkis' has a moody drama to it with churning waves of synths rolling around programmed beats, and `Yasashī Yorokobi' is mysterious and even sadly romantic with a more sedate and precious Kitaro-like thoughtfulness, a very lovely way to finish the set.

`Hikari', available on Rick Chase's AmbiOfusion label as both a download and double CD, with gorgeous eye-catching cover art by Steven Barber, might be long, but great stretches of the album work beautifully as intelligent background music yet still full of movement and colour. The frequent percussive elements mean this album sounds constantly lively, the drone aspects are subtle yet never meander on forever to dead-ends, and many of the different soundtracks reveal heart and genuine feeling in a genre constantly dismissed as being cold and clinical, never an easy thing to achieve. This imaginative and often deeply emotional collection is another victory for Michael Brückner, on such an inspired creative roll over the last few years after his superb recent collections `Two Letters from Crimea',`Two' with Tommy Betzler and `Ondes Intergalactiques' with Mathias Brüssel, and it gets 2016 off to a fine start for this talented and contemplative modern progressive-electronic artist.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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