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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BRÜCKNER & LANKOW: Segmented Vision (2020)

“In somewhat disjointed phases, the German duo offers fascinating duels in an album more ambient than lively and surprisingly bewitching”

1 Segment I 8:03

2 Segment II 7:36

3 Segment III 7:18

4 Segment IV 6:01

5 Segment V 6:35

6 Segment VI 9:40

7 Segment VII 6:34

8 Segment VIII 7:58

9 Segment IX 7:56

10 Segment X 8:09

(CD/DDL 75:51) (V.F.)

(Tribal Ambient)

It was around 2018 that the idea behind SEGMENTED VISION started to germinate. Bernhard Wöstheinrich joined Volker Lankow and Michael Brückner on stage in a completely improvised session. The new trio thought the idea of recording a CD together was very good. But nothing materialized. A year later, Michael Brückner began to take an interest in these recordings and to draw interesting tracks from them that he presented Volker Lankow with the idea of making a CD in duo. The boots followed the lips in what would become this album. Presented in a beautiful 6-panel digipack format, SEGMENTED VISION offers 10 musical segments in a somewhat disjointed album where the 2 musicians don't seem to be on the same wavelength. Wanted or not? Still, the German duo offers fascinating duels in an album more ambient than lively and surprisingly bewitching.

A strange hollow wave containing children's voices emerges from my headphones. A first muffled impulse is heard as the sound of the slide flutes, which always give the impression of intoxication to the flautist, chases the voices of the cherubs a little further away. Slowly, Volker Lankow's magnetizing tam-tam brings us out of our spontaneous reverie with strikes well dispersed between the chick-chicks of the shamanic bells. The decor is made up of lines with sibylline harmonies which meander through an increasingly less dense layer of fog, like an undulating bass layer. The percussions take advantage of this moment of reverie of our friend Michael Brückner to occupy all the space, until the waves and the effects of the synthesizer return to graft themselves to this bench of atmospheres floating in a duel of the Pacific School style. It's like the best ambient moments of the Roach & Metcalf duels, but in a darker twist. After this Segment I where Lankow & Brückner tames their panoramic vision of SEGMENTED VISION, the duo slides the music into a Segment II where the synth pads have this Jean-Michel Jarre's ambivalence, solo effects versus morphic pads. Little by little, the rhythm finds its bearings. Rock drummer's cymbals and more incisive tom-toms emancipate themselves under a sonorous sky made up of oscillating loops whose lengths and speed vary between our ears obsessed with the work of Volker Lankow. Little by little, our fascination is transferred to the playing of the synth. Its oscillations more and more ample and its effects which swallow us up to transport us up towards the ambient textures of Segment III. Segment IV straightens the rhythm with a good presence of Lankow, and also of MB which structures a dark mass advancing by jerks while the oscillating loops are still very much alive. They are even more musical in a cosmic rock without a sequencer but guided by the jerky impulses of the synth. VL absorbs the playing of the synths with good hits so well placed that he looks like an octopus behind all the percussion gear and percussive elements.

There is a dramatic effect that sticks to the structure when it liquefies in the introduction of Segment V and its distant melody copied from the universe of Michael Myers. Segment V lives of intrigues and mysteries with a prismatic vision in an atmosphere of terror where the short jets of repeated breaths and a line ululating to the Moon ends this frightening panorama. These obscure breaths are transported in the opening of Segment VI activated by the pensive percussions of the German musician. Bass percussions restructure the ambiences in a kind of rhythmic ride. But still here, nothing is structured and the whole honestly breathes an evening of improvisation where Volker Lankow activates one to two lines of percussions while being the third source that Michael Brückner tries to follow by injecting an obscure background. Many keyboard chords are sparkling here in a phase where the frenzied visions of percussions evaporate in disjointed suites. Segment VII features the two sculptors of atmospheres without percussions. Percussions that return timidly in Segment VIII, which reminds me of In A Gadda Da Vida when Ron Bushy needed to rest his arms, to beat a measure always out of phase with the slightly spasmodic textures of the synth, hence this fascinating impression to be swallowed by a smoke with strange fates. But it remains a particularly good segment of the album with a Michael Brückner decided to explode the percussions of his accomplice. Segment IX is the most beautiful moment of the album with these flutes coming from mellotron and whose slight quivers in the timbres are synonymous with extreme fragility. The decor is infused by glaucous synth lines with fine contours which sizzle in an unexpected jungle whose discovery will increase our degree of emotions. The title carries over into Segment X un as the emergence of Segment VIII. The first minutes of this last act are molded into the ambient structures of this album with a slow crescendo which abruptly reaches its point of no return around the 3rd minute. A short electronic phase, borrowed from Segment II, will guide us towards the deserted breaths of a last title of an album which takes its dimension to another level without headphones.

With the purchase of the album you are entitled to a bonus track which is the entire album without indexing. Listening explains to you that the 24-bit version is more than essential in an album of this kind, hence my preference to listen to the album with my ears free.

Sylvain Lupari (August 8th, 2020) ***¾**

Available at Michael Brückner Bandcamp

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