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Michael Brückner - Bridge To Imla: The Radiant Sea CD (album) cover

BRIDGE TO IMLA: THE RADIANT SEA

Michael Brückner

 

Progressive Electronic

5.00 | 1 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars The duo of modern German prog-electronic composers Michael Brückner and Hans-Dieter Schmidt have been creating music together on and off over the last seven years, but 2017 brings what will hopefully be the first of a recurring new venture under the Bridge to Imla project name, `The Radiant Sea'. The press release boasts that `It presents an original theme of ecological concern, being a contemplation on the current pollution of the Pacific ocean by radiation and man's indifference to nature, but it also praises the beauty of Earth's largest body of water as it struggles to restore balance and maintain its beauty and dignity'. The fifteen pieces on offer form a continuous 74 minute journey that seamlessly crosses over between ambient, prog- electronic and gently experimenting avant-garde fragments, with brief spoken passages, light world-music flavours and field recordings of nature filtered through as well, and the album has been given a sublime and lavish production thanks to the mastering efforts of defining modern ambient music composer Robert Rich.

Of the absolute highlights, undulating electronic waves lap forwards and gracefully retreat over and over between spoken word voice snippets throughout moody opening `Prologue: The Kuroshio Current', and we get the first traces of the pristine and achingly beautiful piano reflections that pop up frequently on Brückner's projects. `Shatsky Rise' dreamily floats with pulsing electronics twinkling around graceful violin reaches, while both `The Aleutian Current' and `Hikurangi Plateau' take on a low-key soundtrack-like cinematic power. `Mariana Trench' bristles with danger laced to its moodier dark synth backgrounds over haunting piano ruminations and ultimately morphs into a howling and nightmarish icy drone, `Louisville Ridge' joyfully dances with spiralling and freed spacey synth soloing, and `The California Current' holds faraway ethereal voice- like shimmers.

Taking the album even deeper, `Richards Deep' is a cavernous sound-collage of eerily bleeding electronic twitches and groans and pattering percussion that drifts closer to a Popul Vuh sound, `Raukumara Plain' almost takes on a serene Kitaro-esque dignity in between its ringing synth noodling and Robert Rich-styled trickling programming loops, and both `Emerald Fracture Zone' and `Fobos-Grunt' are comprised of crystalline shards and disorientating hallucinogenic caresses. Meditative flute flits around `The Humboldt Current's humming ambient ebbs teeming with life that could have popped up on a Deuter album, clockwork-like chimes click in and out of `Galathea Depth's darker drones, and closer `Epilogue: Ring of Fire' is sobering and dramatic but lifts with carefully buoyant programming to ensure a seamless balance of lighter and darker thoughtful flavours to end this journey on.

This first Bridge to Imla album can be considered among some of the very best works of both Mr Brückner and Mr Schmidt to date, being an impeccably performed and captivating long-form atmospheric piece that never loses momentum or ceases moving in different directions, and it always retains great humanity and genuine emotion. Made even more special by the luxurious fold-out CD packaging that intelligent ambient music label Winter-light adorns all their fascinating releases with, `The Radiant Sea' is superior prog-electronic and ambient music storytelling at its very best, and this deeply immersive and constantly evolving soundscape can rank up there with the best releases in the above-mentioned styles of 2017.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |

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