Michael Brückner "Eleventh Sun" CDr
German sound architect Michael Brückner, based in Mainz, certainly belongs to the most prolific artists within electronic subgenres with his really extensive discography counting, I believe, over 100 solo and collaborative albums. Active since 1992, his vast body of work is available mostly on CDr formats, as self-released or available through few labels, among them German SynGate label seems to be the most recognized. Michael constantly ventures into various styles, ranging from Berlin school and ambient, through downtempo to more progressive and experimental. Due to his chameleonic transitions, always not easy to pigeonhole. To be honest, I am not that much familiar with many of his works, although I have been noticing Michael's name quite frequently on various ambient-based forums as a very active and dedicated talkative kindred soul. Finally, during the last few months I have been able to discover some of his multi-flavored albums, so it's no coincidence I will focus on more atmospheric side of Michael Brückner's soundsculptings. "Eleventh Sun" CDr is undoubtedly one of them!!! Out since October 2012 on SynGate's newcomer sublabel Luna, the CDr album comes in a standard jewel case with 4-panel front insert featuring mysterious photo by Danish photographer Tanja Rasmussen with cover design by SynGate's owner Kilian Schloemp-Uelhoff, while the artist himself provides visual editing and additional cover art. I should also add a bit of history behind this release, which was originally ignited by Michael Brückner's invitation to appear on "11.11.11: Light Side" compilation curated by Vlad Sikach for his netlabel GV Sound (also known for his SiJ project). Michael recorded and sent to Vlad 5 tracks in two different versions, that was all during 2011 and the idea for a possible full length album was born. Roughly around one year later, SynGate's sister label Luna was emerging, so that's the story in a nutshell.
12-plus minutes long "Caspiquan Part 1 (Liz In Mink)" opens the journey and dives into dimly colored terrains, sculpted with enigmatic undulations, ethereal chant ephemeras, experimental rumbles, evolving cinematic sequences and cyber-tech scraps. Floating and meandering through several metamorphoses, from phantasmally mindscaping through bizarrely flickering to warmly panoramic. Some exquisitely immersing magnitudes are reached, nice intro!!! "Purjah" incorporates monochromatic base, then clandestinely sneaking through celestial zones into vintage Berlin school, lightly sparkling downtempo arrangements. A strong mellow feel invades!!! "Chalamé" delves into spectacularly cavernous domains at the beginning, then revealing singular zones highlighted by perplexing traceries, weird swirls, desolately magmatic vistas, ear-piercing transiency and soothing horizons. Over the course perpetually emerging fragmented spirals and cyber-biotic consequences join as well. To me, a pinnacle of the album so far, well-done, Michael!!! "Caspiquan Part 2 (Liz And The Sea)" is a third track in a row clocking around 11:11 in its length (remember above mentioned "11.11.11" compilation?). This piece gorgeously blends wistfully lighthearted atmospheres, cyclically permeating, intangibly metallic echoes and enrapturing rhythmic laid-backness, although towards the end reinforced by some raucous peaks. Another top-notcher!!! Slightly longer "Kathroo Industry" swiftly moves into a more obscure scenario commingling industrial-charged outbursting glimpses with enduring helixes, while obfuscated choir-like drones are inconspicuously guarding above. Weird voices, cranky squeaks, grumbled oddments, subterranean tribals and ear-blowing spasms emanate here and there to add more intricate feel to this splendidly rewarding listening adventure. Then evanescing through tranquilly embracing immenseness percolated by transient dissonant surges. This could be the vertex of Michael Brückner's enigmatic soundcarving, bravo!!! "Agens", which appeared in its shorter, 11:11 long version on "11.11.11: Light Side" compilation, graces this album and navigates it into the finale in its longer form reaching 18-minute mark. High-tech faunal embellishments swirl across the ears, while puzzling drone slowly permeates through the distant horizon and gently invades the foreground with phantasmal subtleties and coalesces with arising sequences, which swiftly paint mesmerizingly spiraling images. Crescendoing piano notes join as well for some brief period. Afterwards drifting through tranquilly enveloping zones illuminated with ethereally distant choirs, while enthrallingly pulsing sequences subsequently steal the center stage along with ephemeral water drops, glancing, yet capriciously bent tribal beat, and serpentinely tiding patterns. Spiritual choirs surreptitiously move forward and join them too. The closing 4 minutes glide on gracefully panoramic blankets spiced by few disruptive glimmers counterpointed by vanishing choirs. A very impressive conclusion, a headphone listening is undoubtedly a true revelation here!!! By the way, "Agens" also appeared in shorter, slightly different version on famous 8 CD compilation "Die Welt Ist Klang: A Tribute To Pete Namlook" released by Carpe Sonum Records in 2013.
I am far beyond being an expert for Michael Brückner's discography, fully exploring it looks to me as a quite unachievable task. When it goes to my rather conservative personal taste, most likely I will continue to focus on his more darker, atmospheric-infused soundforging. 77-minute "Eleventh Sun" was an impeccably flavored example and even if I didn't get beyond the gates of exquisitely immersing transcendental realms, to me, it was a truly venturesome journeying with a myriad of gratifying magnitudes within the wizardry of ambient soundscaping. Hats off to you, Michael!!! Together with "A New Age" 2CDr (hey, all ambient purveyors out there, don't be frightened by its title...), this is my most favorite recording by Michael Brückner due to it relatively atmospheric complexity and harmoniousness. But if you are not afraid of more progressive or experimental touch, then for sure don't miss his latest collaboration with Tommy Betzler entitled "Two", involving additional guests, Sammy David and Fryderyk Jona. This one is out since November 2015 on SynGate.
Richard Gürtler (Jan 31, 2016, Bratislava, Slovakia)
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