BRIDGE TO IMLA: Lost (2021)
“The music can take us to unique soundscapes like the one on the cover”
1 Lost 6:27
2 Rivers of Pangea 17:38
3 Changhsingian 3:23
4 Valley of the Sunken Forest 9:11
5 These Trees are our Homes 5:49
6 Ice Shelf 5:48
7 With the Rising Tide 12:00
8 Cruising Dark Seas 5:07
9 Good-Bye to these Fields of Gold 4:26
10 Of Nightmares and of Dreams 5:54
Bonus Tracks (40:51)
11 Session 2012 (Part 1) 6:17
12 Session 2012 (Part 2) 10:00
13 Session 2012 (Part 3) 7:57
14 Session 2012 (Part 5) 6:57
15 Dreaming at Hanging Rock 9:40
(CD 75:49 /DDL 116:39) (V.F.)
LOST! There are many ways to be lost. Lost, as in getting lost or lost in thought. Or simply being lost between two ideas...between two projects. It is a bit this lost that Michael Brückner refers to for this last Bridge to Imla album composed, recorded and mastered with his accomplice Hans-Dieter Schmidt. We go back to the time of The Radiant Sea when the duo was in charge of the Winter-Light label. Composed to be performed live, the music of The Radiant Sea became lost in time. For 9 months! The German duo set about composing alternative music that has found its way to this point. LOST was lost on recording tapes since the formation of the duo, which offered its music primarily on SoundCloud, from 2012 to 2021. LOST is nothing more and nothing less, for the most part, an extension of The Radiant Sea. So, an ambient music full of mysteries and legends…
It's with the moaning of a cello that the title-track plunges us right away into the ambiences of the album which started with a buzzing burst from which a good fight of chimpanzees is setting the moods. Ambient track with echo effects rolling in loops and evasive melodic episodes, Lost draws our attention with this cello, which will become a crying violin, injecting a lyrical drama in intense musical arrangements and a sound magma filled with a dialogue still to be decoded. After a short introduction of electronic material, Rivers of Pangea unfolds its minimalist structure of sequenced keys that roll in ascending loops. Synth layers, floating rather than flying, caress this continuous horizontal ascension having this characteristic to absorb everything that passes and to filter it in soft ambient melody. The bass extends its vampiric shadow accompanied by the hoofbeats of a one-legged man while this flute coming from nowhere blows a melody with a hint of the Middle East. A beautiful music that loses its slight rhythmic dominance around the 8th minute to lead Rivers of Pangea into a violin/cello dialogue surrounded by sound effects of a nature that gradually comes back to life. Beats! Strange beats that sound like those old dinghies floating on big rivers choking and coming back to life under the soft incantations of Mike Oldfield's piano. The only thing missing is The Sailor's Hornpipe! Changhsingian is of the ambient expressionist kind living in a swamp and its evil spirits. Spirits having taken a more organic form in the opening of Valley of the Sunken Forest. A bass line waits for the half-silence to settle down to make its slow beats hatch, whose irradiation forms a creeping layer. This fascinating rhythm attracts a piano that plays alone in this forest abandoned to water. We call it an incredibly beautiful title built out of nothing! A wavelet of harmoniously oscillating sounds brings the wailing violin of These Trees are our Homes to our ears. The swaying rhythm quickly becomes an earworm, even with the swarm of distorted tones and distortions jostled randomly in an evolution that brings us into an Asian ambience filled of sadness.
Footsteps, like mini explosions, in the water awaken the sibylline ambiences of Ice Shelf. You won't find more disturbing than here in LOST. The stoic, repetitive beats of the bass travel through this track that never breaks free from the clutches of its introduction. Reverberating threads streak the sleeping delicacy under With the Rising Tide. Water pearls tinkle in this buzzing scenery which is filled with fine synth layers whose orchestrations are like badly retained explosions. One feels the dormant power of this title by its reverberating filaments and its synth layers contained in a seraphic vision. This is a good moment in this album where the tension remains at the zenith. A pensive piano crumble its musings as the powerful woosshh and waasshh rise to guide this serenity into a two-minute tsunami of sound. Withdrawn water echoes the damage with messy gongs and that ever-weeping Chinese violin. Cruising Dark Seas is a mini With the Rising Tide, more musical. While very cinematic, the music of Good-Bye to these Fields of Gold is built for the kind of farewell in Hollywood movies. Without being the total image of its title, the music of Of Nightmares and of Dreams hardly breathes this difference between the two states. We find two musical currents. One built on the softness of the piano and shimmering effects rolling in loops while the other is directed towards a turbulence swollen by various tinkling and roaring shadows. In short, everything depends on how we see, we hear and feel things!
Very generous with their art, the duo makes available more than 40 minutes of additional music if you buy LOST, in cd version or download, on the duo's Bandcamp site. The Session 2012 chapters offer more serene, even more acoustic variations of some of LOST's passages. And Session 2012 (Part 5) takes a more electronic progressive rock tangent. Delicate with its philharmonic vision for chamber orchestra, Dreaming at Hanging Rock is part of an esoteric music compilation to raise funds for the 2019 winter bushfires in Australia. A beautiful 40 minutes that brings a more purified vision to the musical drama of this very good ambient music album.
A bit like The Radiant Sea, the universe of LOST seems to be on the verge of exploding without ever getting there. This duality between these ambiences and the melodies, strongly guided by the violin and the piano, manage to give magical moments. But you must let yourself be enveloped by the ambiences and the music of Bridge to Imla if you want to travel through musical fantasies that serve your imagination. And when we have two strong musicians like Michael Brückner and Hans-Dieter Schmidt, the music can take us to unique soundscapes like the one on the cover art by Andreas Schwietzke.
Sylvain Lupari (April 13th, 2021) *****
Available at Bridge to Imla Bandcamp