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Michael Brückner - The Giant Illusion CD (album) cover


Michael Brückner


Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars German progressive-electronic artist Michael Brückner takes a break from his lengthy studio releases of this year - `Hikari' and `Muzikhala', both excellent works, have stretched to five discs between them! - and has decided to release a superb...`hybrid' compilation, let's call it! A two CD set comprised of selections from many of his solo works, guest contributions to electronic labels and unreleased material spanning the years 2004-2015, `The Giant Illusion' is hardly some tired slapped-together assortment, instead all the tracks have been given a careful remixing that joins all the pieces together as one continuous and seamless suite of cosmic ambient music.

Opening with constant rhythmic variations bouncing in and out of electric piano tiptoes and whirring electronics, the ten-part suite of the main first disc initially meanders through chilled passages, pulsing beats with up-tempo bursts and plenty of colourful trilling synth soloing. But after the first twenty-two minute section, it slowly progresses into a beautifully uninterrupted drifting flow that mostly abandons the rhythmic elements in favour of plentiful serene ambient synth washes. Gliding electronic slivers, groaning faraway voices and alien tribal drumming float in and out of the near-77 minute selection, it quickly resembling something of a first-rate ambient/prog-electronic/space `mix-tape', and it closes on a very moving and stark piano reflection. Gentle but never empty New Age prettiness, nor too vague and uneventful in the way that some more droning electronic music can be, it's an evocative assortment of deep-space mystery with fleeting personal and deeply human touches with a distinctly modern sound.

The solo 77 minute work that takes up the entire second CD entitled `Rübezaal' is considered a bonus track, and while it's not one of Bruckner's most memorable long-form compositions, it holds plenty of variety and even presents some darker, more melancholic moods not found on the main disc. Subdued and reaching droning passages, slinking dance beats, clockwork-like programming, unfolding crystalline veils and strident guitar strums move throughout the lengthy piece in an unhurried manner, backed to ambient nature field recordings. While it keeps a very contemporary sound, some parts of the opening twenty minutes or so remind of Steve Hillage's 1979 ambient classic `Rainbow Dome Musik', other moments Tangerine Dream's `Thru Metamorphic Rocks' and fleeting spots nearer the end recall the wisping and bubbling disorientating phasing of the early Klaus Schulze albums. Overall the piece works particularly well as an undemanding and varied background listen, and one that reveals new and exciting little details with every spin.

Designed to be an introduction for unsure listeners to Brückner's music, not only is `The Giant Illusion' an ideal compilation for newcomers (and one that is far away from being a clichéd remake of vintage `Berlin School' sounds), the main disc also stands perfectly as a beautiful and completely satisfying proper prog-electronic-ambient album in its own right. This set compliments his earlier 2016 albums nicely (with another new one `Trois Briques' due at the end of October on the SynGate label as well!) and once again admirably showcases the talent, intelligence and great musical variety of Michael Brückner.

Four stars...and no that's not him on the cover, smart guy!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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