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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BRIDGE TO IMLA: One January Evening (2018)

“This is another strong opus from a duo which evolves from purely Ambient Music towards Tribal vibes and both side of Berlin School”

CD 1 1 The Bronze Bells of Imla 5:37 2 Variation on Raukumara Plain 4:13 3 Summer Nightsky 2:54 4 Variation on Richards Deep 2:50 5 Procession Day 4:13    6 Bridge (To Imla) 1:02 7 Crossing The Great Rift 3:31 8 In an Imaginary Landscape 2:46 9 Variation on Intermingling Currents 7:48 10 The Dream-Quest to Unknown Imla 6:43 11 Variation on Epilogue-Ring of Fire

3:56 12 Nill & Nuchtig - Part 1 (Nuchtig) 2:03 13 Drifting on a Southern Sea (Rehearsal) 10:19 14 Equatorial Passage (Rehearsal) 7:04

15 The Dream-Quest to Unknown Imla (Studio Version) 8:33

CD 2

1 Intro - Plaenkel in G 4:52

2 Drifting on a Southern Sea 10:02

3 El Ciclón 9:36 4 Equatorial Passage 10:08 5 The Return 11:04 6 Encore-The Pastorius Conspiracy 10:47 7 Nill & Nuchtig Part 2 (Nill) 2:11 8 Unused Track 1 (Rehearsal) 3:33 9 Unused Track 2 (Rehearsal) 9:11 Bridge to Imla Music

(CD/DDL 145:21) (V.F.)

(Dark ambient, New and Retro Berlin School, Cosmic Rock)

The Radiant Sea album was one of my big favorites in 2017! Released at the end of the year, this first album by the duo Bridge to Imla was to be at the core of a concert played in late January 2018. And as the worlds of Michael Brückner and Hans-Dieter Schmidt are not made of compliance, the duo offers a recording of this show in a splendid double album soberly titled ONE JANUARY EVENING. It's a lot of music, and it will also be a lot of words from my pen, offered by Bridge to Imla with more than 45 minutes of this concert as well as a lot of bonus tracks and a solid Jam Session where Volker Lankow on percussions and Ralph Baumgartl on synthesizers add punch and depth to an album which gently sails between the tranquil waters of ambient music and the hungry territories for more lively music.

Always flirting with the limits of mysticism, the music of the album begins with these Tibetan bells whose tones cuddle the murmurs of Poseidon. Slow layers deploy their sonic wings and rise to take the paths of the opening of the studio album, in which Prologue: The Kuroshio Current becomes the pale ancestor of The Bronze Bells of Imla. The hold of the sounds and the intensity of the ambiances are more accentuated here than in The Radiant Sea. Variation on Raukumara Plain adds beautiful solos to the original title. In fact, the music of ONE JANUARY EVENING adopts the structures of the first album of Bridge to Imla but with a greater dominance on the level of everything, especially when Volker Lankow joins the duet in In an Imaginary Landscape. The ambient moods are darker and more enveloping with a higher level of emotivity. In total, 4 titles of this album are performed with variable degrees of variations. In addition to Raukumara Plain, we find Richards Deep, Intermingling Currents and the final Epilogue-Ring of Fire which also closes this concert. Even with an organic opening, Summer Nightsky is a logical suite of Variation on Raukumara Plain by propelling its harmonic loops in a decor built for anesthetic layers. Subsequently we discover the parallel universe of The Radiant Sea after a Variation on Richards Deep closer to tonal schizophrenia. From Procession Day to In an Imaginary Landscape, the music takes on the dark / ambient character of Bridge to Imla. There are percussive elements, well imagined by Volker Lankow, but everything remains soberly dark. Variation on Intermingling Currents is a title which brings together all the currents in The Radiant Sea into a compact mass of synth lines with cryptic colors. The percussion adds a tribal depth to this title which evolves with a good crescendo. The Dream-Quest to Unknown Imla follows with a slightly livelier texture. The synths multiply solos with hues as contrasting as musical, some are floating with Arabian perfumes, on a very meshing of various percussions which sculpts a tribal rhythm, absent in The Radiant Sea, which had to propel the spectators out of their idle comfort. In doing so, Variation on Epilogue-Ring of Fire follows the curve of the last minutes of ONE JANUARY EVENING to offer a much more intense finale.

This double album comes with almost no seconds left of to fill in. Thus, the bonus titles come with the hollow breezes of Nill & Nuchtig - Part 1 (Nuchtig) and its organic life that breathes in the decor. The next 3 tracks are small jewels of the New Berlin School style. Drifting on Southern Sea (Rehearsal) breathes the vitality of a sequencer in mode Software cosmic harmony. It's a track which remains in the field of ambient rhythm but whose tone sequences, and these lines a little darker in the background, charm with a big C. Equatorial Passage (Rehearsal) is in the same mold but with less brightness in the tones of the sequencer and more vivacity in a rhythm in suspension while the elements in The Dream-Quest to Unknown Imla (Studio Version) charm a livelier rhythm weaved on a meshing of percussions and sequences. We put CD 2 and we dive into this great Jam Session where Volker Lankow and Ralph Baumgartl join the duo for Intro - Plaenkel in G to Encore-The Pastorius Conspiracy. We notice that the dynamics have changed and that the results are quite attractive. There is a very interesting project in the air and that could turn out into something bigger with a remix of this section which nearly lasts an hour. Ambient music with experimental perfumes and animated with a very Berlin School vision, this is the result of this Jam Session without preparation (we hear musicians who are not on the same page in places). Very good, even with a quality which witnesses of a night of rehearsals. Nill & Nuchtig Part 2 (Nill) is like the other! Unused Track 1 (Rehearsal) and Unused Track 2 (Rehearsal) show beyond doubt that Bridge to Imla is as much at home in the good old Berlin School and / or cosmic rock of the 70's as the ambient music or this delicious passage very Software at the end of CD 1.

All in all, and even if one doesn't like ambient and dark music, since ONE JANUARY EVENING is clearly more sibylline and darker than The Radiant Sea, this latest opus of Bridge to Imla is a safe bet. One finds everything in this hybrid album where the reflections on Ambient Music of the duo evolve towards a great tribal rhythm at the end of the concert and towards some very good Berlin School in the sections Bonus and Jam Session. There are too many good times in this album for an Ambient Music and / or Berlin School (retro or contemporary) lover to miss out this ONE JANUARY EVENING. As for me, I have understood for a long time that when the name of Michael Brückner is on a project, it becomes a must.

Sylvain Lupari (August 4th, 2018) ****½*

Available on Bridge to Imla Bandcamp

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